Paving the way for one’s career starts on campus


Making the transition from a basic K-12 education to a deciding a career can be harrowing for many young people. One must understand the requirements for each company, such as which personal training certifications one might need to join a particular gym or which accounting qualifications suits the firm one would like to join upon graduating. However, knowing what one needs to succeed can be especially difficult if a student does not know which career option would be best for him or her. With so many options available, a precarious economy, and the mounting worry of student loans, choosing a career can be one of the most difficult decisions that a young adult can make.

Much of whether or not a student will be successful will depend on prepared he or she is for a chosen career and the steps he or she has taken before searching for a job. Here are some tips to help soon-to-be graduates on the road to developing a fulfilling career.

While an excellent transcript might help in terms of adding a merit at graduation, it might not be a defining reason an employer would choose a certain candidate for a job. Good grades and academic excellence never hurt, but many companies are also looking for applicants that show an interest and an aptitude for the career they have chosen.

“[M]any employers have stopped putting so much stock in academic achievements alone. In fact, a recent survey from the research firm Millennial Branding found that only 2% of employers consider GPA the most important factor when evaluating job applicants,” writes Avik Roy for Forbes.

Academic excellence might be a factor in why someone would choose to hire a candidate, but they are also going to keep several other factors in mind. This might include how passionate and knowledgeable a recent grad is about the industry he or she is entering and whether they know how to work in a team environment.

While most students have been known to cram for a test the night before, this isn’t necessarily the best way to show that a student is prepared to handle a full work load. Much of the college experience is learning how to multitask and apply management skills to classwork. Just as a student would have to hold themselves accountable in a workplace to make sure everything gets done, college can offer a similar experience.

“Students have a lot to balance, and college is a great opportunity to put self-management skills to use,” states Carol J. Carter for the Huffington Post.

Students will want to find a way to successfully manage their studies, their extra-curriculum and their social lives. Not only can this make the collegiate experience much less stressful, but it can also show employers that these skills will translate to the office.

No matter which industry a student chooses to enter, there is a high likelihood that he or she will have to network at some point. While clubs and meetups can prepare young people to some extent, a student might need to use an entirely different skill set in order to land the job he or she wants. Career fairs can also be beneficial, but young adults might need to look outside their campus environments in order to truly learn how to connect with others on a professional level.

“Students often come out of college having heard that they should network, but not understanding what that means or how to do it. As a result, some new grads simply don’t network at all, and others inadvertently use strategies that turn off their contacts,” warns Alison Green from U.S. News.

Soon-to-be grads might want to ask the campus career office if there are any ways to practice connecting with professionals and if there is an opportunity to practice interview skills.

The truth is that many academic programs don’t necessarily teach students the hard skills they will need once they have reached the workplace. A higher education can teach important things such as how to research, communicate, and develop an argument. However, students should also look into the industry they are thinking about entering and consider which other skills might set them apart from other candidates for a job.

“The basis of any solid employment marketing campaign is the actual skill based worker presents to potential employers. At the most fundamental level, soft skills like interpersonal communication, the ability to speak and write correctly and present ideas clearly are the areas most often cited when employers discuss the downside of hiring young people,” comments Jennifer Kushell for the Huffington Post.

By thinking about which skills will be necessary in a future job, students are already one step ahead of the competition. This might mean taking some time to learn outside of the classroom and considering what attributes could help them in a future position.

With a changing market, it is never too early for students to begin considering future employment and how they can prepare for a future career. It might take a little extra work, but those who have taken their careers into consideration before graduation are often the individuals likely to land a job he or she wants.

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