Monday, December 2, 2013

Starting Ahead: Graduating with Distinct Career Advantage

Let's accept it, life is not fair. Not all graduates are created equal, Some are automatically ahead on the account of their university's name. How does one with less academic reputation build another kind of reputation that  prospective employers will find attractive?

If you are on your first year in college now, the primary thing you need to do is embrace the fact that what you will do now will have significant impact on your future. This is it! You had your fun. High school is over It's time for a little bit more seriousness.  The keyword here is decision. Decide to be a kick-ass college student. Rise above mediocrity. Remember when you graduate you will be joining hundreds of thousands of diploma-wielding  jobless individuals. Here are my suggestions for becoming a potentially awesome job candidate of the future.

1.  Develop your leadership skills now. Join an organization and strive to play a significant role. Classroom experience is not enough for you to  learn what the real world really need. Potential bosses will ask you what you accomplished in college outside of your academic chores. They ask this because they want to know if you've experienced working on projects, encountered problems and dealt with difficult people and situations. So, go ahead and go through some experiential learning by leading or actively participating in an organization.

2. Put your classroom learning into practice as early as possible. Don't wait for graduation. If you are taking up  a computer science course, engage in a computer programming project or if you wish to become a web developer or designer someday, learn to develop them now, and then go ahead and develop as many as you can even before you graduate. Remember mastery comes from doing, not memorizing. If you plan to be a chef someday, start experimenting on cooking now. set up a video and practice video-blogging your cooking adventures. I cannot possibly come up with examples for all courses but I hope you get my drift. Practice by looking for opportunities to apply your learning as soon as NOW.

3. Learn in advance and learn more. There is so much going on in the world of marketing that I doubt if the books and schools are catching up. The Interweb is offering us valuable and current information that some of our teachers will most likely not be able to teach.  This is as true with marketing as it is with other courses. Learn the theories and learn today's application. I tell you, it will help you when you start going to  job interviews.

4. Lastly build your portfolio as early as possible  Learn skills, see if you can get freelance or part time work, run a tiny business, or engage in a project aimed at developing your technical and professional competencies even before you finish school. This is nothing new. I've seen people do this. They are a minority, a rich, financially independent minority. You can be part of that exclusive club.

Employers are attracted to candidates who have proven that they can do the work. The most that fresh graduates can show is potential. If you have proof that you've done the job even before you completed schooling, you're more than one step ahead.

I personally think that we have a choice of  facing the difficult task of preparing for our future while we are young or face the difficult task of surviving  the future because we took it easy when we are young.

When you meet your future self? How does s/he look like? Will  s/he be thankful for the things that you did that allowed him/her to enjoy life?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

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