The joy that runs through the spine of a graduating student can hardly be measured. The zeal to swiftly carve out a career and apply knowledge gained in the four walls of a University to their next job is second to none. With hopes high as the mountain and passion deep as the ocean, University graduates go everywhere with megawatts worth of positive energy.
But a few weeks into this new world, many return home tired, confused, disappointed. Rejection hits them with just as much energy as they had hit the streets in search of real-world work experience.
This is by no means palatable, especially when you think about the four, five or seven years you had spent in school, studying a course you plan to build your career around. It is even sadder to realize that a good number of fresh graduates end up with jobs far lesser than what their qualifications demand. It only takes someone with a strangely stubborn determination to keep searching for jobs relevant to their field after months of failed attempts.
Is it possible to avoid this early life struggle in finding a befitting career?
There is no hard and fast rule to this. But I will discuss four simple but proactive tricks that can help you make the most of your time in the University and be well-posed for maybe not your dream job, but a great career in whatever field you have chosen. Here we go.
Be in the know
Every employee expects that you must have some form of background understanding in the field you intend to work in. Being in the know, that is, staying informed about technological advancements in your field is quite a smart way to be ahead of others who may even have more years of experience in your field. If your school has an introductory course for Compute Studies, do not see such classes as unimportant. Take good advantage of the lessons to be taught.
One tool that can help you keep up with trends, news, and research findings is Google’s Google Alerts. You can receive automatic periodic articles in your field of interest, right inside your mailbox. You just have to sign up for the service.
However, being familiar with tech tools in your field is just as crucial as understanding industry trends. Your school’s library will help with this. There, you can read up news, trending articles, opinions of experts, among other useful pieces of relevant information.
You should also be aware that some organizations are not necessarily as advanced as what you will expect of a 21st Century workplace. Old knowledge may become handy. Websites such as Amazon have some not-so-new books you can purchase at a lesser fee. Read up!
Knowledge is a continuum, it is never enough
There is always something to learn in the university, beyond the walls of a classroom. While you may find some skills as relevant, and some others irrelevant, make efforts to have an idea of the not-so-relevant ones too. You may need them someday.
But do you just need to learn a skill? No!
Your new skill may become obsolete within a few months if you don’t develop it. This means that beyond acquiring a skill, you need to constantly dig up new and advanced aspects of such a skill. That way, it continues to be relevant and useful.
Most organizations are quick to hire individuals that are skilled with knowledge in multiple areas. You can take elective courses which are related to your main course. You don’t have to write any examination on some of these courses. Once you find them relevant to your field, take them. For instance, Drama and Theatre Arts students can join Photography students in their classes, Language students can take part in Marketing classes to understand the art of Business communication and so on.
ALso, learn why you should Study in Canada
No hard feelings but hey, schooling without having an internship experience is like having a car without gas (fuel). Internships assist you in putting your knowledge into practice. Your activities at this stage will help you blend smoothly into the entry-level stage of your career. Now, you may already have some ideas about applying to large-scale firms and PLCs but the truth is, getting internship slots at organizations in this category is usually competitive. Submit applications to small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). There, you will learn more than just going on coffee errands. You can find out these SMEs online or better still ask some of your lecturers. On many occasions, they have good relationships with the managing directors.
Procrastination is an enemy, don’t befriend it
Have you ever thought that you can only gain experience in your field after graduating? I must say you have been thinking wrongly. In fact, it is costly to believe that your books and classes are the only areas you should pay attention to, at the University. Search for and take up jobs that are relevant to your course. That is, if you are an accounting student, you can work as a receptionist a trading store during the long breaks, or even on weekends.
If you are schooling in the UK, US, Canada, or other developed countries, universities usually have a work and study program for students. Although most of the jobs are within the campuses, do not hesitate to take them. Your counsellors will most likely find a job that is not so different from your field, even when the ones that match are not available.
When can you start preparing for your career?
Whether you are a Secondary School graduate, an A-Level Student, an Undergraduate, or a Postgraduate student, you can start preparing at any stage at all. If you haven’t. Just adopt the tips I have shared above and watch how quickly your career will take shape.
I’m absolutely interested in learning about your challenges either in the comments section or via an email.