|Photo by: Rodion Kutsaev|
When I graduated high school the economy was very different than it is today. The opportunities seemed endless. I never thought that there would be the amount of competition there is now for jobs, especially in marketing and communications. When I look back on my academic career there are definitely some things that I wish I had done differently.
Making More Connections
I never really understood the power of LinkedIn until after I graduated University. It is very rare to get a position without a referral. I wish I had added all my professors, classmates and contacts I met in my job at the time to my LinkedIn network. Building a network is imperative to success in your career.
Don’t Rush to Graduate
When I was in school, I felt as though I was a mature student because I wasn’t 21. I wanted to finish and get on with my career as soon as possible. Any time I was not in school, I was working. I did not invest as much as I could of in my University career. I only focused on getting good grades, and I didn’t partake in the extra curricular. It is very important to get involved, join student associations, do co-op, all these will help you to excel in the future. If it takes you longer to finish, it is not a big deal. One or two years in the long run doesn’t really make a difference.
A classmate of mine told me he did this and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it first. He called the potential companies that he wanted to work for. He asked them what type of education or background they are look for when filling the positions in his field. I highly recommend that people do this. You may not always get an answer or talk to the right person, but it is worth a try.
It is also a good idea to build a list of companies that you are interested in working for, and try to source out some contacts. Instead of relying on school internships or job placements, try to approach companies that you want to work for.
Breaking up a Degree
I had some friends that did a diploma or certificate in their field first. They got jobs in their field once they completed their program and then worked on their degrees part-time. I wish I had been smart enough to do this. Getting experience is essential for most industries and that way you can decide if the line of work you have chosen is the right fit for you. It is also a way to increase your earning potential.
Interning May Be the Only Way to Get Experience
I always thought that I could not intern, because I don’t have the option of living at home and I have bills to pay. I didn’t understand how important experience is. The job market is so competitive you need more than an education. Interning does not cost money, I had to train my brain to think that I paid to go to school, but interning is learning for free. It also doesn’t last forever, so working a side job while interning is not the end of the world.
Calculate Return on Investment
Don’t get stuck with student load debt. Make sure you calculate the cost of getting your education and then how long it will take to pay it back. Sometimes the numbers won’t add up and it won’t make sense. I wish I could say that everyone makes the money they need to live by following their passion but this isn’t always the case.
I didn’t foresee the struggles that I faced when I graduated. The competition is fierce and
although we were all hopeful that post University life we would land the job of our dreams, that is not always the case. It does take time and hard work to get noticed and stand out in a pile of resumes. Make sure you get to know your industry, so when the time comes you have their attention.