Top 10 tips for career development for college students

When students are joining college, they have big dreams of graduating top of the class and having a fulfilling career. But by the time they’re done, so much changes along the way.

Colleges teach a lot of theoretical knowledge but unfortunately, they don’t focus on the specific skills that HR managers often look for. 

How can they prepare for the bigger picture outside college? As a college student, taking career agility advice is guaranteed to help you become more equipped upon graduation. It’s the only way to ensure that you choose the right field and become more confident in your skills. 

10 tips to help prepare for professional development 

In this section, we’ll discuss a few pieces of advice that’ll help college students get through the difficulties they face post-college. These will be extremely helpful, especially now considering that we’re now in the middle of a recession due to the coronavirus pandemic and the job market has become extremely competitive.

If you stick to them, your pursuit and transition into a fulfilling career will be much easier.

1) Network, talk to people in your field of interest and find a mentor

Throughout your college career, build relationships with people relevant to your industry and hold discussions with them whenever you get the chance to. The easiest way to do this is by joining professional networking groups and attending fairs. These contacts will inform you of invaluable opportunities in your field.

Find a mentor and find out how their typical day looks like. If you have questions ask and they’d be more than happy to answer and clarify. This way you’ll always learn something new and exciting.

2) Find internship opportunities

Internships, even if they’re unpaid, provide you with a platform where you gain hands-on experience in your field. Ensure that the internship applies to your career aspirations. This would be a great opportunity to get your foot in a particular corporation that you’ve been eyeing.

3) Take part in work-study programs

Such an early start before you graduate helps you understand the industry better. Work-study programs allow college students to work part-time during their studies. Just like internships, you gain invaluable experience in your field. A huge benefit is that you can earn money to use towards your educational expenses.

4) Learn workplace etiquette, cultural, and emotional intelligence 

Prepare for your career by learning what is expected of you at your workplace. For example, you should always look sharp – your appearance speaks volumes about your work ethic. You shouldn’t bring phones to meetings or take personal calls during working hours unless it’s an emergency.

Observe how others carry themselves and learn as much as possible from your colleagues about how things should run. Listen to others’ points of view and train your brain to manage work-related stress triggers.

5) Update your skills regularly

Employers prefer employees with a wide range of skills and overall knowledge. When applying for a job, you’ll likely be competing against other candidates that are just as qualified. Whenever you can, take short courses that are relevant to your career path.

6) Pursue your passion

Figure out what you love to do and build your career around that. People who pursue their passion are generally more productive than those who don’t. When a person’s interests are satisfied, they’ll be more content. If you don’t do what you love, you’ll end up unhappy and wondering what went wrong. 

7) Seek and create opportunities

You don’t have to wait and wait for traditional opportunities to find you. Before the right opportunity comes your way, proactively work upon whatever your dreams are. Find other things to do that improve your skills that are beneficial in different industries.

8) Strive for excellence and stay motivated

Whether you’re in your internship or first job, aspire to be the best you can be. Start by believing in yourself and your abilities – over time you’ll become exceptionally good at what you do. This will help you find success while others remain in their comfort zone.

9) Stay focused – don’t be afraid of failure

Nothing pays off more than setting goals and aspirations then following that path no matter what. When you make mistakes along the way, take them as a lesson and this will provide you with invaluable experience later on. These mistakes are instrumental in helping people become better professionals.

10) Strike a balance with your personal life

As they say, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Find a healthy balance and don’t forget to live your life as you pursue your career. Find time to relax away from your career and find a hobby or spend time with your friends and family.

Prepare yourself for your career

It would be really unfortunate if, by the time you’re coming to the sense of building your career, that ship has already sailed. Preparing for career development requires that students change the way they look at things. For almost all students, the transitive phases from high school to college and the career world are quite uncertain. This is because of the numerous changes that take place around us.

Photo by Naassom Azevedo