For many young people, the upper years of school and college is all about having fun and experiencing a new level of freedom. Nevertheless, the choices they make now is the foundation for of a successful career. They look to you as a role model, so you need to be ready with some guidance. If your students haven’t started preparing for their professional journey yet, here are some points of advice to get them started.
Laying the Groundwork
Young people are normally delightfully unaware that the later school years are the perfect time to assimilate information that will further their career. The window in which to explore your interests professionally before you have to start paying your way in the world is sadly much shorter than ever of us ever thought. Here are some steps to recommend:
1. Decide your Career Direction
Once you enter college, you are well into your formative years. For this reason, you should already have at least a general idea of where you are headed from a professional point of view. Consider conducting a visualisation session that allows them to creatively imagine their potential interests, and also to share each other’s knowledge of what careers are available to them. It is your role to expose them to careers they had not thought of. Ask, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
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2. Networking within the Industry
When you’re young and just starting on your career path, forming long-lasting professional connections is essential for your success. Support students to have the confidence to reach out to those who are already active in that industry. There are many ways in which you can do that. Of course, the traditional method would be to attend job fairs, as well as consult with your professors. Nevertheless, thanks to the progress of technology and the Internet in general, you can also use social media for this purpose nowadays.
3. Apply for Internships
To take your networking one step further and acquire additional professional skills that will further your career, you can try applying for internships in the field. Many companies offer such opportunities to bold and bright students that aren’t afraid to claim their success. You can easily be one of them by submitting a form.
The great thing about internships is that they are a viable way to build job experience when you’re young, and they don’t take up too much of your time either. The programs are designed specifically for students, so you will have plenty of time left to focus on your curriculum. As a bonus, some firms provide actual jobs upon completion, which is a huge break.
4. Use Your College or School’s Resources
Making the most of your college years from a professional point of view means more than just studying hard and acing tests. It also involves taking advantage of everything your school has to offer in this department. Plenty of respectable educational facilities are striking up successful partnerships with businesses, which opens up an entirely new world of possibilities.
Thus, as a student, you might have access to specialized training sessions that award you extra credits, while at the same time building a strong occupational foundation that you can tap into later on. If your college has such a program, don’t be afraid to ask your professors about it. They should be more than happy to help.
5. Never Postpone your Goals
Finally, ensure that you never postpone your progress and forget about your goals. When you’re busy studying for finals, it might seem tempting to give up the job hunt. However, you shouldn’t quit. In fact, starting your career early on gives you an edge over potential competitors and improves your chances of getting hired.
The hardest part about building a career while you’re still in college consists of deciding what road you’re going to take. You can support your students to begin to apply for internships and other training programs, as well as build professional relationships with industry pros that could help you.
The secret to success is represented by a bit of knowledge and a lot of ambition.
About the author
Diana Howell is an HR Manager. She runs JobInterviewAdvice, a collection of job interview resources for career searchers. Diana graduated from MBA Managerial and Organizational Behavior, the University of Chicago.