Four years sounds like a long time. 8 semesters sounds far more fleeting. 8 semesters give or take one or two additional semesters is the amount of time that the majority of college students have. You want to spend this time creating experiences for yourself that you can add to your resume and discuss during the job interview. There are far too many activities, clubs and programs at most schools for you to spend that time just going to class. It is your responsibility to use that time wisely. In many ways that means you will develop yourself holistically into a candidate that employers will want to hire. Dont’ waste time by thinking that you have alot of time. You will learn soon that those 8 semesters go by very quickly. Spend the time you do have getting most of your college experience. This means getting involved in ways that are meaningful.
A lot of students pursue major areas of study for reason other than their love and passion for the subject. If you are one of those students chances are your lack of love is reflected in your grades. Your major is like most things in life if you don’t love it you will avoid it and as a result refuse to give it the time and attention that it deserves. This will be evident in your grades. While grades are not a measure of intelligence they are a measure of how much time and effective effort you give to a particular area. Usually the more time and effort you spend on something the better you will be.
For many students average grades in your major area of study means 1. you are average in the area that you have chosen to devote the most of time in studying 2. You are not giving it much time or serious effort. Would you hire someone to perform average work in an area that they claim to love? If not, why would an employer pay you a salary for average effort in an area in which you have majored. Pursue something that you and enjoy and supplement what your major does not teach you with other activities and involvement on and off campus. If you enjoy your major it will be evident. You’ll enjoy your undergraduate experience so much more.
I know it may seem premature but if you have a child enrolling in or returning to a college or university this fall please encourage them to begin thinking about their careers while they are still in school. Many people mistakenly believe the time to seek full time employment is when the child graduates however for many students that may be too late. Employers typically want students with structured internship experience. These experiences are often acquired while the student is studying. It is imperative to your child’s career development that you engage them early in their college career about occupations they would like to pursue and skills knowlege and abilities required.
Ask your student the following questions to prompt a converstion or get them to begining thinking about their potential careers:
1. In what industry do you have an interest? ( An industry is a group of businesses that provide a particular product or service. For example retail, banking, health care and entertainment).
2. When will you visit your school’s career services office?
3. Have you taken any career assessments to give you some idea of what occupations that may be ideal for you?
4. On what dates will your school host career fairs?
5. How many company information sessions will you attend on campus?
6. Which skills do you see yourself using at work on a daily basis (Skills are developed aptitudes or abilities)?
7. Have you looked into the job market’s demand for the careers in which you have an interest? Are you comfortable with the salaries for those occupations?
Will that salary provide you with the lifestyle you wish to live? Will that salary cover your student loans?
8. Will you take the steps that are necessary to find an internship before you graduate?
9. Are there any activitites on campus that will assist you in developing the skills employers find valuable?
10. Have you had a practice interview?
11. Are you working on your resume?
These questions will never fully replace the dynamic conversation you should have with your student, but I do hope that they will give you a few suggestions on how to best to discuss this issue with your child. The earlier we have these conversation the sooner the student will begin to make connections between their studies and their first job after college.