Answers to Your College Questions
Blog posts tagged in Careers
As 2014 begins, high school and college students like many people are making the obligatory New Year’s resolutions and setting goals to kick the year off right. If you’re in high school, you may want to get accepted to your dream school—but do you know what steps to take to apply? If you’re an undergrad, you may have your sights set on a specific career or grad school—do you know the skills you’ll need to get there? Do you know how to achieve your goals?
Getting detailed about your dreams can make a huge difference in your performance. Here are some tips to get you started on setting realistic, achievable goals.
Far too many college students think that preparing for a career starts the second semester of their senior year with a trip to their career services office. Many others never even make use of this crucial campus resource, believing that good grades are all they need to get a job after graduation.
Although earning a high GPA in a major that suits your strengths and interests is a good start on the college-to-career pathway, in today’s tough economy, good grades are not enough. Here are some steps that you should be taking as early as your freshman year to ensure that your job search will be successful:
Today’s job market is a fast-changing, information and service-based environment. To thrive in this setting, companies have become less focused on finding employees with specialized expertise as they once were. Instead, they look for skills that are applicable to all areas of the workforce—particularly in critical thinking and communication. This means they typically hire good team players with excellent people skills who can learn quickly. Luckily, many areas of study will enable you to develop those skills.
For example, if you major in people-centered subjects—such as anthropology, sociology, or psychology, to name a few—you will learn quite a bit about human behavior. Studying human behavior will help you to build people skills that will be useful when collaborating with colleagues in the workplace.
Good grades are very important for your future, whether you decide to work after college or to go to graduate school. However, that does not mean you should be spending all of your time in the library. It is also important to balance your schedule with social and extracurricular activities that you enjoy.
Most professional work opportunities that don’t require graduate school training—like engineering or accounting—require a B.S. in that particular area of study. But if you’re on a more general career track like journalism, don’t know what you want to do post-college, or you’re at a liberal arts–focused school, it is completely fine for you to pursue an unrelated area of study. In fact, that’s what makes college great—the opportunity to explore a wide range of major and career options.
Just remember that at some point, preferably sooner rather than later, you need to be honing in on an area of study so you can, at the very least, graduate on time. Also, if you’re not pursuing a degree that’s directly related to your dream job, try to pack your schedule with courses that provide some type of exposure to that particular career. How else will you know if that’s the right one for you? And when you start going on internship or job interviews, you’ll have something to refer back to when the hiring manager would like more information on your background and experience. Your classroom projects and papers can go miles in helping prove or show your passion for a particular job.