3 Ways to Prepare for a Career While Being at University

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Probably all college and university students have high expectations of a successful career after they finish studying. Yet, reality hits hard after they graduate. 

A lot of them find themselves unprepared for a future career. 

In general, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that employment rates for university graduates are quite high, with 86% of both male and female graduates finding their career path. While 86% of successfully-employed graduates can be considered a success, this is hardly so in reality. 

Where do the remaining 14% go?

Some resources say that many students lose hope of getting a successful career while being at university. The Atlantic reports that while 80% of students enrolled in colleges are confident that they will get a job they want, only 34% remain that way when the time comes to make the career choice. 

The problem is clear: students are unprepared for a future career. And we can suppose that the 14% of unemployed graduates have a problem assimilating to a new lifestyle after leaving university. 

While many universities offer career counselling services and all types of advice for the students to start preparing for a future career, what students don’t know is that a lot depends on their actions. Your career path starts at the university. So, as a student, you should start preparing right now. 

Don’t know how?

Let us show you. 

  1. Take Advantage of Industry Placement Programs

Many universities offer a so-called Industry Placement opportunity for their students. How does it work?

An Industry Placement program introduces students to career opportunities offered by local businesses as well as governmental and non-governmental institutions. You can pick an offer and start your career while still doing your studies at the universities. 

For instance, the University of Sydney offers the students from the Business School to work with leading firms in Sydney or Canberra. During this enrollment, students work for 3 days 10 weeks during the semester, and this program provides credit towards their undergraduate or postgraduate degree. 

Note! Not all university departments offer Industry Placement programs that will fit your profile. So, before enrolling, check your eligibility. 

If your university doesn’t offer an Industry Placement program, this doesn’t mean that you cannot get this unique opportunity to prepare for a career while still being a student. 

Many companies offer Industry Placement programs to attract young professionals. For instance, Goldman Sachs, a world-famous investment banking company, invites students in different cities to come and work for the company for a year. 

Participating in an Industry placement program, obviously, has a lot of benefits. You can get valuable experience, and, if you like a career opportunity given to you, it can become your permanent workplace. 

  1. Enrol in Volunteering and Internships

Many employers pay attention to the presence of volunteering experience when hiring university graduates. Many students don’t realize this, but volunteering has some important benefits for their future career:

  • Volunteering shapes your individuality. Since students participate in selfless acts, they acquire certain qualities that employers value – reliability, selflessness, responsibility, etc. 
  • You gain work experience. If a graduate student wants to stand out when applying for a job, having volunteering experience in a resume will be a huge benefit because it involves performing a variety of tasks, ranging from very easy to very hard. 
  • You develop networking skills. The biggest benefit of volunteering for students in terms of a future career is a great number of networking opportunities, as they work side-by-side with many other volunteers and sometimes have to meet hundreds of people on a daily basis (for instance, if they volunteer in the soup kitchen). 

Students, who have volunteering experience, often have a great work ethic and approach every task with diligence. Thus, taking volunteering opportunities can be a great way to prepare yourself for your future career. 

How to find volunteering opportunities that suit you?

  • Ask you’re a career counsellor at your university. Universities often have unions of students who participate in many charities. You can pick one that suits you best and will help you develop the skills that you’ll need for your future career. 
  • Explore your local community. Pay attention to leaflets that someone gives you on the street or to the announcements on notice boards. They might have information on local volunteering opportunities. 
  • Go online. Websites like VolunteerMatch or All for Good, will help you find volunteering opportunities that suit your needs best and that are close to your location. 

Another essential step for a student to make in order to prepare for a future career is taking an internship. 

An internship is a real opportunity to get ready for a future career while still being a student. As a student, you will enjoy the following benefits:

  • A higher chance of getting a job. Interns are often offered to remain at the company if they perform their tasks well. 
  • A real work environment. Being an intern, you get a chance to practice your skills and apply your knowledge. 
  • You make connections. Even if you don’t have the intention of staying at a company after you complete your internship, you can make useful connections that may help you find a job after graduation. 

You can find a suitable internship by either consulting your career counsellor, sending requests to the companies that you would like to work at, or search websites like Indeed or Glassdoor. Social media platforms are also a great place to search for internships as well as volunteering opportunities. 

  1. Start Working on Your Professional Image Now

Apart from volunteering, internships, and Industry Placement programs, why not build your professional image in a more creative way?

How?

Many students start freelance careers that match their skills, like creating websites, doing work for online college paper writing service reviews or tutoring. 

But what if you cannot apply your skills? 

Surely, there are situations, when, for instance, medical students cannot practice their skills before getting accredited. How can they practice their craft and work on their professional image apart from internships?

You can showcase your knowledge by creating your own blog. You may write articles, create discussion boards, and forums. However, you can also make a social media blog, where you can showcase your professionalism in a more creative way. For instance, Dana Brems, foot and ankle surgery resident, started her Instagram blog while still being a student.

There, she makes posts on professional issues as well as gives advice to medical students who want to get a successful career as doctors. How can such activities help prepare for a career?

Such activities show your creative side and characterize you as a person who can think outside of the box. Having a blog, a YouTube channel or any other creative outlet shows your desire to grow as a professional, which will definitely attract the interest of future employers. 

Concluding Thoughts

Of course, all three tips mentioned in this article won’t guarantee that you will get a job after graduation. 

However, they guarantee that you will have a great resume and feel more confident in a new workplace since you already have the necessary experience and skills. These tips can also be helpful for those, who have graduated but don’t know yet how to start their career path. Following these ways will give you a push towards the career that will make you feel fulfilled. 

What helped you prepare for a career while being a university student?

Share your tips with us! 

Daniela McVicker is an editor for RatedbyStudents. She used to teach English literature in high school for 5 years. Currently, she spends her free time studying psychology and reading books in foreign languages.