3 Ways To Prepare for a Career if You’re Still in School
There’s no denying that pursuing a higher education eventually pays off in the long run. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for high school graduates is significantly higher compared to college graduates. Finishing college opens you up to highly lucrative career opportunities. On that note, this article explores three ways to prepare for a career if you’re still in school.
1. Pick your career path strategically.
Student life can be blissful and fun, but what about real-life situations after school? Will your hard work pay off? Will you make it into the National Honor Scholarship Society that recognizes your academic excellence? Being a member of the National Honor Society might help boost your employment prospects, considering they offer valuable leadership programs that help improve your leadership skills. Even if you haven’t narrowed down your career path, you should at least have a vague idea of where you want to be in the future. That said, the best time to start preparing for your professional career is now while you are still in school.
We can’t overemphasize the need for preparation. The first step is to focus on your studies and graduate with a good GPA and exemplary character. As a high-achieving student, your focus should be on graduating college, getting a scholarship for your master’s degree, and seeking a fellowship with prestigious universities like Princeton University. In addition, you can enroll in online courses to gain technical skills. For instance, if you are interested in IT skills, you can take information technology online courses. If you love the more complex tech world, you can take courses on cybersecurity, Python, network security, software engineering, data science, and web design.
2. Create a professional image.
Creating a professional image is not something you wake up and do after school: It requires a series of calculated steps. These are steps you take toward self-branding, including creating a professional online persona starting with your LinkedIn profile, a platform mainly for professionals and companies. You’d be amazed at how it can boost your career life with influential connections.
Another great way of creating your brand is by maintaining a solid online presence. You can write articles about your field, share the little knowledge you have, create a discussion forum, and answer questions about your academic discipline. That way, you have presented yourself as a professional in your chosen niche. If you like, you may decide to share your journey so far with the younger generation.
The next step is to build a strong resume or CV that’ll get you in the door of any fortune 500 company. As someone building a professional image, make a habit of updating your resume regularly.
3. Gain relevant experience.
An internship is probably the fastest shortcut to getting hands-on experience in your future career. Instead of jetting off to Paris for the holidays, you can apply for internships that align with your major in school or your future career. Apart from gaining experience, internships grant you the opportunity to learn more about your chosen field. Best of all, it’ll look perfect on your professional resume.
Like an internship, volunteering is another way to gain working experience. You can volunteer as an extra hand at a company in line with your goal or with NGOs that require your services. You can gain lots of different skills as you perform different tasks. You’ll also have the opportunity to build your network as you interact with people. Also, remember that during your internship, outstanding service can guarantee a spot will be waiting for you at top companies or even a national merit award.