You may think you have to wait until you graduate before doing anything about your career. But that’s not true! Here are nine things freshmen can do to prepare.
You’re about to start college. You have a lot on your plate as an incoming freshman to prepare for the next four years of your life as a college student. Getting to graduation is the primary goal, of course.
But wait … don’t put your career planning on hold.
Your freshman year of college is a vital time to start getting ready for life after graduation. If you play your cards right, you could have a job all lined up for you right out of school.
If that sounds interesting to you, go ahead and take a look at these nine ways you can start preparing for your first job out of college right now!
There’s no need to choose your major right away.
Just because you think you know what you want to major in doesn’t mean you won’t change your mind. And if you don’t know what you want to major in, there’s no rush to make a decision as soon as you enter college.
In fact, around 30% of students change their major during their freshman year.
There may be a major you didn’t even know existed. You may find that you gravitate toward something besides what you picked out before. There are all kinds of reasons your major might not be the best fit for you.
The best thing you can do is focus more on general education classes.
You’ll have to take them anyway to round out your college education, and they can help you figure out exactly what field you’re best suited for. It’s better than using your time for specialized classes you may not end up needing.
Your resume isn’t something that can wait until your junior or senior year of college.
Even if you don’t have much to put on a resume yet, you should still start one. It will make it that much easier for you to evolve it throughout your college career by adding on instead of starting from scratch later down the line.
Include all your experience in athletics, volunteer work, or jobs you’ve had up until this point.
With a resume in hand, you’ll be all set for any opportunities that may pop up. No stressing or last-minute edits necessary!
It’s never too early to start networking!
Connect with everyone while you’re in your first year of college. That’s what they are there for, to help you get where you want to go. It’s incredibly likely you will find people that can help you later down the line.
Don’t be shy — start hooking yourself up with those contacts.
Make appointments with your professors. Go to meetings with counselors and advisors. Make connections with other students interested in the same fields you’re interested in.
It’s amazing the lifelines you can create just by talking to people.
A LinkedIn profile is one of the most valuable tools you can have when you reach the business world. It contains countless companies that post about their business and what openings they have available.
Think of it as social media for professionals.
Start your profile and keep it entirely up to date as you make your way through college. Updating your resume will help you with this since it’s pretty much an online representation of your experience and skillset.
It will also help you connect to industry professionals early on in your college career.
Add the contacts you make throughout college and meet new people in the industry you’re hoping to join. It’s one of the best places to hold all those contacts you’ve made, so they’re easily accessible.
It’s well enough to go to your classes and do well, but it’s important to round out your college experience before reaching graduation. Employers love a well-rounded job candidate.
Here are a few ways you can get involved on campus:
- Join Clubs
- Take on Leadership Roles
- Do Work-Study
- Become a Tutor
Besides, joining a sorority or fraternity could bring more to your college experience. You’ll gain a sense of community and build even deeper connections.
Anything you do on campus provides you with experience for your future career.
So take advantage of all those opportunities that the next four years will provide for you!
The career center and the staff are there to help you figure out your career goals.
It’s their job to help you set goals, map out a path to completing those goals, and keep you on that path throughout college. Maintaining your goals is a lot easier when you have people behind you that want you to succeed.
On top of figuring out your goals, the career center will give you the tools you need to achieve them.
Get help fine-tuning your resume, learn how to prepare for interviews, find more ways to form important connections, and much, much more!
Yes, even as a freshman, you should visit the career fair!
Getting to know professionals in your area as soon as possible can get you in good with future internships and career opportunities. Businesses love to get to know their potential employees as early as possible, so they have that pipeline to pull from.
The career fair also gets you used to pitching yourself professionally to people that are actually in the jobs you want for yourself.
It’s a win-win for everyone!
Just remember — it’s never too early to scope out prospective companies to work for.
You probably won’t land an internship until at least your sophomore year, but it’s a good idea to start planning for it now.
Research the kinds of skills professionals in your desired job area have. This is an excellent use for that LinkedIn profile you’ve already got set up!
Now, look around for internships that fill the gaps in your skillset.
For example, if you hope to become a journalist, but you have no experience working for even a school paper, you may feel a little behind. An internship making copies or being an assistant to someone at a local newspaper will give you the chance to get an inside look and gain experience.
Shadowing professionals gives you the same kind of experience.
Internships allow you to add crucial bits to your resume, build connections in your industry, and could even lead to a job in the future.
Knowing how to balance work and life will be a tremendous help when you make it out of college and onto your chosen career path. It’s better to start now, so you’re well-prepared for the future.
Besides, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
So, go out and enjoy yourself. Do things you love. And don’t overfill your plate because that’s just going to lead to stress.
Stress isn’t good for anyone whether they’re in college or not. Balance is a great life lesson to learn early on.
Permit yourself to enjoy these next four years. They’re going to be amazing!
The point of college is to get you ready for your future.
You’re going to be spending this time learning a lot about yourself and the career you’re hoping to have once you graduate. There’s no magical window of opportunity to start looking at your job prospects.
The time is now.
Use your freshman year to your advantage and get started as soon as possible! These are nine constructive things you can do to get yourself ready for your first job out of college before you get there.
It may even already be waiting for you when you do!
Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over ten years of experience in the conventional housing industry and works with The Proper on a daily basis to help them with their marketing efforts.