Creating a career plan when you are in college is important because it gives you direction and focus. Your career plan will help you identify what you can do while you’re in college to make you a strong job candidate. You can plan certain courses, research opportunities, extracurricular activities, jobs, and internships.
Developing a career plan early on it allows you to focus on what you want to do when you graduate. A career plan can help you reach your goals sooner rather than later. Another benefit is the skills and experiences you can include on your resume.
Getting a job with no experience is hard. Having something to put down on your resume when you graduate will help you stand out. How To Get An Entry-Level Job With No Experience, will give you some great tips.
Here are helpful steps to guide you in creating a career plan customized to your interests and goals.
Choose The Best Classes
A great way to start developing your career plan is by choosing college courses that correspond to the career you want. It makes no difference if you are majoring in engineering or business, companies are looking for a specific skill set for potential employees. They may want you to know data analytics or be able to speak in public. Being able to say that you’ve gained that skill because of a class you’ve taken is advantageous because it proves your experience and it may be what sets you apart from other candidates.
Find classes that offer skills that employers are looking for in your field. Gain as much knowledge and experience as you can, it will help strengthen your future success. This is a very structured academic approach that will increase your chances of landing a good job so that you can build an excellent career.
Get A Job Or Internship
Classes introduce you to academic content which is invaluable. But to develop practical skills which you learn in the classes room, you need to experience them first-hand. A great way to gain experience and marketability is to get a job or an internship.
When looking for a job or internship focus on the career field you want to pursue. Jobs and internships put you in the industry, working with professionals. You will learn how the workplace operates, different departments, and positions. You will be able to apply all that you learned in class and you will be exposed to tasks and skills that you can include on your resume.
Build A Network Around Your Future Career
Networking is an important part of creating a career plan. Networking is connecting with people who have similar career goals. The purpose is to help each other with those career goals.
Never underestimate the power of networking. Your network, whether it’s professional, personal, or academic can help you build skills, gain experience, and get a job. While you’re in college take the time to build your network. Create a LinkedIn account and connect with individuals in the industry. Here is a step-by-step Linkedin Guide For College Students to help you get your profile started.
Additionally, your network may be able to connect you to a possible employer or internship. They may know when a job or internship opening will happen, or they can give you insight into the industry. Studies show that 70-80% of jobs are never advertised. How are these positions filled? Through networking. If you build a good enough network when you graduate all you have to do is reach out to them and someone may be able to recommend a job position—and you’re in!
Don’t Stress Over Your Career Plan
Prioritizing a career plan encourages you to think about the career you want. When you start college, don’t worry if you’re not exactly sure of your career path—you will have some time. Take some GenEd classes and see what you like.