How to Prepare for Your Future Career

All the things you need to know to be fully prepared for your future.

| February 14, 2017

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When beginning a new stage in life during freshman year of college, most of us have so much on our minds. From what this experience will be like, to the people we will meet and what type of classes we will take, there are many things a new student takes in. One question that most of us have probably not considered before is: What path should I take to prepare for my future career? Yes, knowing what major and minor we want is extremely important, as is registering for our required classes, but after that hectic organizational period many of us experience at the beginning of the semester, we tend to reduce ourselves to going to class, studying and taking exams. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this at all, but we should always make sure we are on the right path and preparing for our career, whatever it may be!

A very important part of preparing for our future career is having a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a professional network in which people can create an online résumé network with each other and find jobs related to their field. On LinkedIn, you can add your education, employment and internship experience, as well as professional skills and volunteer experience. It is a very useful tool, especially for college students, because it is a professional way to present yourself to companies in which you may be interested. Another important tool related to LinkedIn is their student app: LinkedIn Students. This useful app lets you see the job opportunities available to you with your degree, the earning potential of those jobs and discover internships. Overall, if you haven’t joined LinkedIn yet, make sure you do.

Have you taken advantage of the resources here on campus? Another great way to prepare for your future career is to visit the Career Center, located next to Atkins Library. The University Career Center provides several free resources to students who are committed to their future. You can make an appointment with a career advisor to talk about career opportunities, schedule mock job interviews, evaluate your options and find careers that fit for you, get help with preparing your cover letter and résumé, attend informational sessions and much more. While students are in college, they should take advantage of opportunities like these because all the resources that we can get for free at UNC Charlotte will not necessarily be free once we graduate.

Internships are another way to ensure we are prepared. Employers value university degrees, but what they mainly want is experience. Internships are always a great way for students to gain experience in a career area in which they are interested. Having an internship (or more than one) is a great way to show prospective employers that you have the skills they are searching for. The University Career Center can also be helpful if you are interested in finding an internship.

Get to know your professors. Professors give you vast amounts of knowledge and they are happy to talk to you if you’re interested in their career area. By forming a good relationship with your professor, you can find out about useful information, get a letter of recommendation and even get recommended for an internship. When a professor notices a student is motivated, they are happy to help you move further in your career path.

A useful way to learn more about your career is to do some research. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can use the website to search for what type of jobs people with your career focus choose to work in. You can even view previous alumni from UNC Charlotte and see what job positions they have accepted. The idea behind this is not to copy someone, but to see the career possibilities you have. This is all about expanding the perspective through which you view your career.

Career fairs are a great way for you to network with representatives from companies and learn about what they are looking for when they are hiring employees. Instead of networking online, these fairs allow you to do so face to face. This opportunity also allows you to learn about employers you did not know about previously and who knows, maybe this employer could be a future job opportunity.

Overall, it’s important to accept even when you are out of college and have a job, the learning process never ends. You can never have enough information about your career. It’s good to keep adding experience and skills to your résumé and to keep up to date with the news that is pertinent to your job field. Hopefully this information has helped you and you are on your way to developing a career path. Remember, we are responsible for shaping our future.

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