While attending college, it can be hard to think much beyond going to class and getting good grades. You’re probably aware that you will need a job when you get out of college, but that whole thing seems a long way off. Besides, that’s what the degree is for, right? To get you the job.
Unfortunately, just having the degree isn’t enough. You need to show that you have other qualities that an employer might want. Here are 5 ways to advance your career while in college:
1. Do an Internship
One of the best ways to gain experience is to do an internship. If your career field prefers those who have completed internships, land one that can help you develop “real world” skills that employers find desirable.
2. Join a Professional Society
Many career fields have professional societies that you can join as a student. You can join the American Psychological Association or the Society of Professional Journalists as a student. There are engineering societies and other national organizations you can join. Many of them have reduced membership dues for students.
Join a society, and become a participant, and you can show that you network, and that you are keeping up with the latest news.
3. Get Involved
You can also beef up your credentials by getting involved. Get involved with a charity while you are in college, or become an activist. Depending on what you hope to do when you are done, these experiences can be helpful.
You can also get involved on campus. Participate in student government, and you can showcase your skills as a leader, and as an organizer.
4. Participate in Research
If your career field is heavy on research, you can get started early. Even as an undergraduate, I had the chance to do research. You can help collect data, design surveys, and even help analyze data. There is a chance that, if you help enough, you could even be included as an author on a paper.
This looks great going forward, and can help you as you apply to graduate programs, as well as to jobs. Anything that shows you have had a chance to apply what you are learning looks great on a resume.
5. Get to Know Alumni
Many universities offer networking opportunities with former students. Graduates who already have jobs might be able to help you with your own job search. Take advantage of programs that allow you to get to know alumni, and network with them.
Check with your school’s career center to find out what events are taking place, and how you can meet alumni. Find a mentor, and learn about your desired career filed. Make a good impression, and get to know someone, and it’s very possible that your chances of getting a job when you are finished will improve.
Don’t let your time at college be wasted time. It’s not enough just to have a degree. You also need to make an effort to improve your skills and experience, as well as begin networking. It will be easier to find a job when you make those efforts later.