You career is one of the most important defining characteristics of who you are and also represents your ability to secure and advance yourself within society. If you’re a student or recent graduate, it’s naturally prudent to seek out ways to get a jumpstart on your career so you can start reaping the rewards sooner rather than later.The following are 3 tips you can use to help get a head start on your career.
1. Pursue an internship
There are few more direct and effective ways to get a head start on your career than to jump into an internship with a firm in the industry of your choice. The success of your internship depends very much on your preparedness and the overall quality of the placement, so you want to do your research and find a firm that’s got the time, resources and will to take you on.
When looking for a good vocational placement, many people choose to engage services like our Premium Internship Program of which more than 90% of interns find permanent, full-time work within 4 months of their placement. A big part of the appeal of internships is that they allow you to get hands-on experience in a real work environment, build industry connections, connect with mentors and potentially gain full-time employment at the firm you’ve interned at.
While being offered employment during or after your internship is never guaranteed, you can still get a valuable reference out of it and leverage contacts you have made when looking for a job. A successful internship at one or multiple firms looks great on your resume as it shows your eagerness to enter the industry and work vocationally in exchange for experience.
2. Connect with student organisations and career hubs
If you’re a student at university, there’s more than likely multiple student groups relevant to your industry of choice that you could join. There’s also likely a campus careers office and online careers portal that contains a plethora of useful resources to help you start you career.
You can find a job or internship via firms who have networked with your university and are eager to recruit recent graduates. Also, participating in student groups and other extra-curricular campus activities is good to have on your resume and gives you lots of anecdotes you can use to demonstrate your resourcefulness.
3. Network with lecturers, professors, peers and alumni
It’s important to remember that you’re not alone within your educational institution and within the academic/professional field of your preferred industry. You’re surrounded by likeminded people who you can build valuable connections with that, as mentioned earlier, you can leverage in your search for employment.
Exchanging emails with professors and alumni about career opportunities or internship offerings can really help put your name out there as someone who’s going above and beyond to get involved. Without being a teacher’s pet, you can demonstrate a sincere eagerness to get into the industry that will be noticed by the people around you who will come to you first with relevant opportunities.
Who knows, perhaps the friends you make at university will remember you when a job specifically suited to your skills comes up, or perhaps a lecturer you got a reference from is a trusted former colleague of the person interviewing you for your first job.
Ultimately, getting a head start on your career comes down to the competitiveness of the industry you are trying to get into versus your determination to do what it takes to stand out. When it does come time to have that big first interview, take a look at our tips for getting prepared.