Graduate college with a bright future ahead of you.
Graduating college is one of the proudest and most exciting times of your life. You’re stepping out into the “real world,” to rosy prospects and a lifetime of happiness. …Or are you? Too often, students realize only after graduation that they never took the time to develop a plan. For these unfortunate college students who hoped that the future would simply fall into place, their after-college plans involve not moving up in the world, but moving back into their parents’ basement.
Developing a plan doesn’t mean you have to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life, but it does mean that you should have a general idea of what you want to do during the time immediately following graduation. So don’t fall victim to the trap of poor planning and wishful thinking; instead, follow the tips below to help yourself graduate ahead of the game:
Use your college’s career center.
Most of America’s colleges and universities are more than willing to lend a hand to students who want to start planning for their future. Your school’s career center is probably one of your best resources for getting a leg up in the working world while you’re still in school. Most of the services they provide are completely free of charge, and they can assist you with everything from creating the perfect resume to learning how to dress professionally to practicing your speaking skills in mock interviews.
Career centers are often a great way to find and apply for internships. Internships are a great way to boost your resume while still in school, and as an added benefit, many of them also count for college credit. Internships give you a way to test the waters in a career path that you are considering entering into, and they let you evaluate whether or not you’re a good fit for that job environment- all with little or no obligation (since most internships are designed to be temporary anyway).
Career service centers also often grant students access to job posting databases, many of which are otherwise only available with a paid subscription. Often under-utilized by college students, career centers are an extremely valuable resource for helping you succeed after school.
Attend job fairs.
Does this tip sound obvious? Well, that’s because it is. Like career centers, though, job fairs are criminally under-attended by college students, despite the value that they provide. Most students make plans to attend a job fair, but then those plans get shoved aside in favor of immediate concerns like homework or studying for a final.
Don’t let your plans to attend a job fair be forgotten, though, because job fairs are sometimes your only opportunity to learn about certain positions. Many employers list their positions on job search websites only after looking for new employees at job fairs and similar events, so if you miss out on a job fair opening, you might never again have the same opportunity. Employers set up a booths at job fairs because they are in need of new hires, meaning they are actively searching for your employment.
A great many students have secured positions for after graduation while attending a job fair, all for the price of an hour or two of their time. After college, these types of gatherings can be quite expensive, but as a student, your school usually covers the cost of your attendance. So no matter how busy you are, make the time to take advantage of this excellent opportunity.