Growing up, your parents, teachers, and mentors will tell you, “You can be anything you want to be.” They say, “so long as you work hard and try your best, your dreams will come true.” Is this really how life is? Not really. Not everyone can become a professional NBA player or an astronaut. But there are things you can do to secure your future success. And these things are a little more “crafty” than most people think. Here are 6 ways to prepare for the real world:
1. Develop your own side gig. When my brother was in high school, he spent hours tinkering with computers. When he went to college, he became “that IT guy.” Even though he majored in Business Management, he would visit friends, families, and then neighbours to fix computers as a side job. One day while fixing a computer, he met two gentlemen who recognised his talent and offered him an internship at a large company, paying him $18 per hour. Needless to say, it was a big break for a 19 year old college student. It later led to his second internship at another company, who then hired him full time after graduation.
2. Make a lot of friends. How is having a lot of friends going to make you successful? Good friends will forever enrich your life. Sharing ideas and experiences will make you a happier, stronger person. Going at life alone is difficult. I knew a guy who went to Cornell to study Bio-Chemistry. He never made any friends, suffered from depression, and nearly killed himself. After transferring to another school and joining some school clubs, he did a complete 180, made a ton of friends, and even started dating. Some people prefer to have fewer, closer friends, and that’s okay too. But having a strong group of friends will help you develop as a person, share insights, successes, and failures, and eventually also help you build a network for future opportunities.
3. Network, network, network. Networking means connecting with people for business ventures. This can mean keeping acquaintances in different fields and businesses who might be able to help you find work one day. In turn, you help them find contacts or jobs in your own field. If you are in your early 20s and still in college, you may think you’re too young to start networking. That’s not true. During your first college jobs and internships, talk to the people around you, ask for business cards, keep a record of everyone you’ve met and try to keep in touch once or twice a year after your job has ended. If you did a good job, these people will remember you and might offer you a new job in the future. Or, they might find you your first apartment, first car, etc.
4. Have a backup plan. When you are starting college and picking a major, don’t settle for one, narrow field. For example, if you study Philosophy with the idea of going to Law School, consider taking minoring in something completely unrelated like Business Administration. It may seem boring at first, but if you don’t get into the law school of your dreams, finding a job in another field such as Human Resources or Business Operations might be just as fulfilling and lucrative.
5. Intern. Working at an internship will give you the closest “real-world” experience you can get before starting your first job. During your internship, see how you can get as much hands-on experience as you can. If you work in one department of an organization, such as IT, try to take a walk around to meet other departments. Meet the Marketing, Sales, Business Operations, General Affairs, Human Resources, and Accounting departments. Talk to different professionals and ask them, “So what do you like about Accounting?” They will tell you! People love talking about their own experiences, especially if it’s a field they really enjoy.
6. Lastly, understand that you might not get hired in your first six months of school, and that it’s okay. Over 50% of college graduates who graduated last May still can’t find a full time job. Many who find full time work are overworked, underpaid, and overqualified for the work they do. You, as long as 50-100 other applicants, may be perfect for the job. Competition is fierce. The best way to find work is to network with your contacts, attend job fairs, connect with Recruiters on LinkedIn, and keep applying, applying, applying. Follow up on applications by calling companies directly and asking about the status of your application. The more determined you are, the more successful you will be.
Guest post courtesy of freeresumebuilder.org