6 Essential College Experiences that Lead to Professional Success
While most students enjoy activities like boozing and partying every night and weekend, there are those students who use their free time to network and build a future career. If you want to play higher education like a winner, then here are the essential college experiences you should do to earn professional success.
Relevant, Competitive Internships
Image via Flickr by Samuel Mann
Anyone can get an internship at Walt Disney World as a housekeeper. It might be fun and exciting, but it’s not what you need to get ahead. Internships that are relevant to your future career are the ones that count after college. Keep in mind that any internship you can get on a whim isn’t one worth having: aim higher and compete for a great opportunity. Here are some of the best and coolest internships to consider:
- FBI – Internships available in myriad focuses
- Capitol Hill – Opportunities abound for those interested in politics
- Coke – For anyone pursuing an MBA, Coke is the place to get your feet wet
- Facebook – Programmers, designers and hackers all flock to this possibility
- Sea World – If you want to be an oceanographer, vet tech, or even a hospitality guru then this is one for you
Participate in Peer Mentoring
Get to know your classmates by volunteering to help them. You’ll learn about yourself and those around you by being available. Also, these peers might one day be able to help you out, too.
Networking Job Fairs Like a Pro
Even if you have a job at Jamba Juice that pays the bills, you need to attend every single job fair in appropriate attire. Get a suit cleaned, get the day off from your current job, and attend the event with printed resumes and a great smile.
Job fairs are opportunities to meet professionals hiring students for real careers. Gather business cards and connect with these people on your social networking sites. In the future, these simple connections could mean the difference between unemployment and six figures.
Schmooze With Experienced People
From your professors to your mentors, there are experienced professionals all around you with sage advice. Take advantage of the opportunity to get free consultations about your career. Ask relevant professors what they did, why, and how it worked out. Take notes. Contact the thought leaders and all stars in your industry and ask them for interviews (not the kind that get you hired, but the kind that get you information).
The people you ask for advice will remember you as someone who cares; someone with potential and drive. These connections could help you in the future, but their advice will always be helpful.
Mock Interviews & Resume Workshops
Start during your freshman year and continue through your graduating day; mock interviews and resume workshops prepare a person for real life. You need to work hard to be the best, most qualified applicant in a stack of resumes to get a job. Prepare yourself, now.
Visit sites to review possibilities, articles and relevant materials. Try to read blogs about perfecting your resume, too. All of this time will be well spent when you find a great job.
Join LinkedIn & Make Contacts
Take all of those business cards you’ve gathered and look them up on LinkedIn. Ask these people to connect with you, and stay in touch over the years. When you become a graduate at some point, these people will gladly write you letters (because your request won’t be out of the blue).
Joining LinkedIn is a smart way to create a living resume. This resume will follow you throughout your profession, so you need to make sure to fill it with the right internships and experiences.
These six essential college experiences will prepare you for professional success. Prepare for your college experience by visiting getarealdegree.com and get started on building your future.