While In College, Do Three Things
When students go to college, they may or may not know what they should be trying to achieve. When these things are clear to students, they are much more likely to find success after their college experience. Student objectives should include the following:
1. Figure Out Where You Want To Go
a. Select A Target – Students need a target in order to be certain of their goal. When the goal is clear and specific, it is much easier to move in the direction that will move them closer to that goal. However, when the goal is not clear, it is unlikely that the student’s actions will move them in the right direction.
b. Create A Plan – Few career targets/goals are realized in one or two steps. Students will benefit greatly, if they prepare a step-by-step, semester-by-semester plan that lays out the steps that will take them to their goal. Your plan should also all of the job search preparation activities that will make you attractive to your target employers.
2. Do Your Best To Give Target Employers What They Want
a. In The Classroom -You already knew this. However, you should work hard to show employers what your best work in the classroom looks like. The better your grades, the more likely that employers will take the time to determine if they have a further interest in you. Grades are often used as a quick and dirty way for employers to narrow down the field of candidates to a smaller number.
b. Learn As Much As Possible – Students are in college to learn everything they can about their areas of interest. They can learn in the classroom, as they participate in campus activities, working in a part-time job, volunteering in the community and in their leisure activities. Students can also attend association meetings, presentations, lectures, conferences or by assisting a Professor with books, projects and research.
c. Obtain Some Experience – Anytime students can obtain some firsthand, real life, personal experience in their field of interest, they should try to take advantage of that opportunity. It makes it so much easier to build your resumé, take an interview and discuss your capabilities when you can refer to your experience helping a Professor, participating in a job-related activity or holding a part-time job.
d. Demonstrate Your Capabilities – Importantly, a student’s capabilities fall into a number of areas that are of interest to employers. Employers are interested in: Technical capabilities, Communication Skills, Problem-Solving Ability, Creativity, Initiative, Work Ethic, Leadership and People Skills. Wise students take advantage of opportunities to demonstrate their capabilities. Most students can find ways to demonstrate their capabilities in the classroom, in campus activities, at work, in the community or in their leisure activities.
3. Prepare For Your Senior Year Job Search
a. Start In The Freshman Year – Preparation is something that starts in the freshman year and continues until you graduate. Students who are focused on certain jobs or a group of employers can do the research to discover where those jobs can be found and what job search information, techniques and job hunting tools will be needed.
b. Learn How To Conduct An Effective Job Search – You should learn about all of the tools and techniques that can be used to identify, prepare for, pursue and land a good job. If you do not know what they are and how to use them, you will not be fully prepared to compete for the jobs that you want.
c. Prepare Your Employment Tools – You will need an employment network, a sales letter, a resumé, an interview strategy, Interesting stories and examples, a professional presences on social networking sites and a list of impressive references. These tools are built over time and cannot be thrown together quickly. Wise students recognize the value of high quality employment tools.
d. Differentiate Yourself – You must find ways to stand out from other qualified candidates. Without a way to differentiate yourself, you will be just one of the crowd. There will be little reason to single you out for a job offer.
“The best jobs go to the students who are prepared to compete for them.” — Bob Roth
Employers always appreciate students who describe their job-related accomplishments and successes on their resumés and are ready with examples and stories during interviews. They also expect students to be ready with several references who can verify their capabilities and give them more details about a student’s strengths, weaknesses, skills and potential.