You finally graduated from university and started looking for a job. If you have not followed the labor market and have not even thought about career prospects, you may find yourself in a challenging situation. At the very least, the chances are high that to get even an internship or an entry-level position, you need a specific set of skills and references. In the best case, you can quickly catch up and agree to an unpaid internship or find courses to improve a particular competence. At worst, you run the risk of realizing that you missed out on many career opportunities that the university offered you, and in general, a diploma alone does not distinguish you in the labor market. Therefore, the best that a first-year student can do to complete a job placement mission is planning career development.
When I had just started my journey within the university walls, I was so quickly drawn into the study and the new routine that career planning seemed like something out of priority and distant. I can perfectly imagine how stress and adaptation can be confusing and put off thinking about further employment. However, this is a trap for which you need to be psychologically prepared. It is, of course, essential to give yourself time to get used to life on campus. However, a freshman should keep in mind that the genuine priority is to be hired for the job they want, not the job left as a fallback.
To build the right approach, one needs to treat education as part of their career journey. Thus, a certain desired position should not be the ultimate goal. Alternatively, it is best to treat employment as continuous development and define the required competencies. In this perspective, a career no longer causes so much stress but becomes an incentive for effective smart learning. Early career planning will allow students to focus on what will be important in their job search and differentiate them from their classmates.
An acquaintance of mine provided a great example of how early career planning can help relieve oneself of the unnecessary stress of looking for a job after graduation. She completed several unpaid summer internships with different companies in different departments. Surprisingly, she found that both positions were not to her liking. Although earlier she really wanted to work in marketing, after completing the internships, other areas, such as communications and public relations, were more attractive to her. During her studies at the university, she was able to adapt her skillset and get an offer from one of the companies where she had an internship, but now in the PR department. This happened because the hiring managers were aware of her professional interests and saw her motivation and development of competencies. Therefore, it was unnecessary to waste time looking for another candidate for the vacant position.
Freshmen should remember that today does not happen twice. Because the university offers excellent career counseling, opportunities to differentiate yourself in the job market and spend a few years on campus should not be neglected (SDSU). It is essential to prepare yourself psychologically to avoid unconscious immersion in your studies. That is why it is worth analyzing your strengths and weaknesses and identifying areas of development and priority skills that you need to acquire to succeed in your job search.
SDSU. “Career Services.” Student Affairs and Campus Diversity, 2021.