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5 Tips to Help Students Prepare for Their Careers

You have seen this more than once that fellow classmates complete their degrees and spend their first week enjoying. In their resumes, fresh shirt, starched black pants and polished shoes, the same classmates pound the pavement the next week – only to meet rejection at every stop. It’s very disappointing-working for their degrees for four to eight years, only to end up running the McDonald’s night shift. Let this not happen to you. Start early on in the game to work towards your entry-level career. Here are the 5 Tips to Help Students Prepare for Their Careers.

1. Don’t procrastinate

One common misconception is that the professional experience starts after college. This misplaced career guidance for students can and will cost future opportunities. Start looking for chances before graduation. Don’t default immediately on those standard “college student” or minimum wage jobs. Look for your Major related work. Journalism students may profit from working in a print production facility, for example. This offers an inside look at how the business operates. The accounting students may want to work at the local tax office as a receptionist. Majors in art history may volunteer at a local gallery, or do an internship.

2. Expand your knowledge

In college , students learn a range of skills. Some relate to your career; others may seem less helpful. Open your mind to such “useless” skills. One day, they could come in handy. But please don’t stop there. The secret to this is extension. Expand knowledge and know-how. Companies are searching for team leaders with the capacity to operate in a number of environments. Check for courses which will complement your major. Students in photography may want to take a few graphic design or illustration classes to help develop creativity and their “eye” to illustration. Talk with your academic advisor to help you choose elective courses that complement your major.

Typing is one great talent, and a lost form of art. Unfortunately, most college curricula don’t require simple typing classes, or even offer one. Employers want leaders of a team who reach deadlines with little or no errors. Invest in software that is perfect for typing if your college does not offer typing lessons.

3. Stay up-to-date

Although some entrance-level careers are more competitive than others, work and planning are necessary for all jobs. Staying up to date on the developments in technology and the industry gives you an edge over other applicants. Much of the students are more technically up-to-date than seasoned professionals, giving them the upper hand. They provide an in-depth insight at the changing world within your profession and can help you plan better for what is to come. Google provides a subscription to news, which can be personalized to any search term or phrase. Set up an automatic search and every month receive daily news updates in your inbox.

Consider this piece of career advice: learning new technologies or upgrading your information about the latest update is just as important as developments in the industry. Many universities and colleges provide students with, and even allow them to take, computer introductory courses. These courses include the development and editing of files, the features of the operating system, text processing and general maintenance. Profit from the beginner and middle classes. But don’t miss out on older tech. A few companies have not updated. Read up on the last two Microsoft Office versions, the Windows OS and the mainstream applications used in your industry. Many libraries hold books about technology that date back many years. Half Price Books, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com and other stores could have older books at discount rates if your school or local library doesn’t have these books.

4. Pay attention in science and math class

Careers in STEM (science , technology , engineering, and mathematics) are one of the fastest growing industries. Technology is booming which makes it a wealthy oil field. When in math or science, learning the basics will help you grasp this growing area and impress employers with your analytical side. Visit the Dean ‘s office of Science and Math, and speak to a counselor. Explain to them that you are not majoring in STEM but that you want to know more about the field and develop analytical competences. They are aware of the best classes to help you learn.

On the other hand, don’t miss out on studying the arts, like the visual and performing arts. Performing arts teaches competencies in communication. Every professional, particularly public speaking, benefits from the communication. These classes help develop self-esteem, teach you how to conquer the fear of speaking and ideally train you for different, spur of the moment scenarios. Taking arts classes (i.e. painting, ceramics, etc.) helps to develop imagination, teaches structure and discipline, cultivates resilience and inspires students to think outside the box.

5. Don’t forget about those internships

Training is the lifeblood of university learning. And very rightly so. Nothing beats an education which is hands-on. Only be careful when selecting the right internship to help work towards your career at the entry level. During your first two years at college, academic advisors suggest forgoing those big, competitive internships.

Alternatively, put more effort into internships at nearby, small businesses. These companies need the support and often provide more real-world education than those large-scale versions of the coffee-fetching sector. Google a few local medium-sized to small businesses in your city. Contact their department of human resources, and inquire if they consider interns and what are the requirements. So don’t forget that your teachers are your biggest allies. They probably met a bunch of successful firms that will give you a chance.

It’s never too late to start

Most of this career counseling for students requires a few years of preparation to become successful. However, don’t worry because there is still time for the students to plan to walk the stage. The first move is to optimize your Resume. Although preparing for your future is best and getting the ammunition ready for your curriculum vitae, most skills and experience are quickly rewritten. Look for qualities that can be transferred (i.e. leadership, communication, team building, etc.) highlight such characteristics and related achievements. Use strong verbs of action, and draw attention to what you can do for the company. Treat your expertise as a selling product. Make the potential employer want you.

These were the 5 Tips to Help Students Prepare for Their Careers.

Read More: How Internships Can Help with Career Planning

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