Updated: Sep 9, 2022
Education can be one of the most influential factors in determining how successful you are later in life. If you want to turn your education into a career that you love, there are certain things you can do to help make that dream happen. Here are some tips to help get you started!
Get an internship Internships are such an important stepping stone to getting your foot in any given door. Even if you have to work unpaid, or at least below minimum wage, it’s worth it because you’ll gain so much on-the-job experience and learn new skills—skills that can take you directly to getting hired full time. Internships aren’t just reserved for high school and college students either: a recent graduate or someone who has been out of school for years can also find one. The key is finding out where they are and how to get them. As always, networking is huge when it comes to internships—but don’t be shy about making cold calls! It never hurts to ask around and see what you can come up with. If all else fails, start Googling some big companies in your field and seeing if they offer internships. If not, maybe there’s a smaller company nearby that does—and even though it might not be as prestigious as working for Nike, starting small will give you valuable experience (and possibly lead to bigger things down the road). Whatever you do, make sure you do it before graduating from college; once you walk across that stage there won’t be many opportunities left to put together an impressive resume.
Do your research Schools and instructors are usually great about encouraging students to attend career fairs, reach out to recruiters, and connect with alumni. Find out what these options look like at your school and when they occur so you can make an informed decision on how to best spend your time outside of class. Networking is important no matter where you’re looking for work, but it can be especially effective if you’re already on campus. You might even consider getting involved in groups or activities that support your desired industry. The more exposure you have to companies hiring within your field, the better equipped you will be when it comes time to apply for jobs—especially if that involves creating resumes and cover letters tailored specifically toward each position. And don’t forget: If you have questions, there are plenty of resources available to help you figure things out. Talk to your professors and other student workers who may know what kinds of opportunities exist in their fields. And don’t underestimate social media; many companies use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms as recruitment tools.
Write cover letters carefully Once you’ve landed an interview, research your potential employer so you can hit it off with everyone in your potential new department. For example, if you’re applying to join IT and support functions, check out their website and familiarize yourself with what they do before going in-person. Not only will you have good questions prepared to ask during interviews, but by knowing more about the company as a whole, it will be easier to answer why you’d like to work there over any other organization. Since most people don’t want to hire someone who doesn’t know anything about them or their business, demonstrating that level of interest can be key in gaining entry into professional environments. After all, even if you get rejected from one job opening, you’ll already have contacts at another place who might be able to offer you a position. Even if nothing comes from your initial attempts at finding employment through networking and outreach, though, having a backup plan is always better than being unprepared when starting something new. And even if nothing comes from your initial attempts at finding employment through networking and outreach, though, having a backup plan is always better than being unprepared when starting something new. And even if nothing comes from your initial attempts at finding employment through networking and outreach, though, having a backup plan is always better than being unprepared when starting something new. And even if nothing comes from your initial attempts at finding employment through networking and outreach…well…you get my point!
Get to know the organization It may seem obvious, but you’ll be spending a lot of time working at your new job. You might as well know what to expect from it. If possible, schedule a meeting with someone in HR or management to get an idea of their company culture and whether or not they’re likely to provide you with opportunities that support your long-term career goals. If not, read up on them on Glassdoor and The Muse to learn what others have said about working there. Even if you don’t land your dream job right away, learning about an organization before accepting a position will help ensure that you feel comfortable there (and make sure it’s actually where you want to be). The best way to approach your first day is by being organized and prepared. Having done some research beforehand can help put you ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to knowing which questions are appropriate to ask when meeting new people—such as how they prefer to be addressed or any office customs you should follow. Asking these questions ahead of time can save you embarrassment later on, while also helping you build rapport with coworkers faster. Of course, there are other things you can do on your first day—but planning ahead is crucial because no one wants a nervous neophyte fumbling around for answers in front of everyone else!
Don’t do it alone! It’s easy to think you’re going at it alone, especially if you’re pursuing your passion. If you want to start making money with your passion or turn it into a career, however, it’s important to seek out help. This can mean finding an educational institute in your area, connecting with mentors and peers online or reaching out to organizations that are associated with your field of interest. (Once you have an idea of where to look, check out Inc., which offers career tools and resources). When choosing an avenue for education—whether it be college courses or online workshops—you need to make sure that whatever you choose will be able to help turn your dream job into reality. You don’t want to find yourself stuck taking classes that don’t offer any real-world value!
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