College Freshmen: 5 Things to Do Now to Help Get a Job Later

Wow, the school year is in full swing. Where does the time go? It seems as though it was just yesterday when I wrote about getting a job post-grad, and we’re back at square one.

College is an exciting time and for 19.7 million of Americans, this will be a reality all too soon. The four (or five, or six…) years of college are known for being “the best” times of anyone’s life, and it’s true. College is a great opportunity to learn new things, meet new people, and develop school spirit you didn’t know you had. First and foremost, college is a crucial step in the path to gainful employment.

Freshman, you might think that you have four whole years before you need to think about what lies ahead of you, but think again: a degree does not guarantee you a job offer (or an internship, for that matter). Jobs go to those who have the whole package (degree included).

Here are five ways you can get on the right track for your post-grad dream job:

Be a Student

This is an obvious one, but it bears repeating. You’re in college to be a student. You aren’t in school for the Greek system, student discounts, or anything else. Class is (and should be) a priority. Go to class, study for tests, and get to know your professor. Sure, intro to communications isn’t the most stimulating topic, but you’re paying for it, so you might as well learn something.

Inventory Your Skills

If you’ve never held a job or written a resume, you might not have ever thought about your skills. Make a list of your top ten skills. Put special emphasis on quantifiable, concrete skills such as typing speed or software mastery. Look at the classes you are taking (or will take) to determine any additional skills you can add to this list. With an inventory of skills, resume and application-writing gets a whole lot easier.

Get a Job!

Sounds like a Catch-22, right? After all, you’re reading this article with the hopes of getting a job later on. However, gaining work experience, any work experience, is incredibly beneficial to your post-grad job search. Look for on-campus jobs or even an internship. If you are a freshman, take small bites because you don’t want to be overwhelmed along with everything else.

Get Involved

If a job is too much for you in your first year, look to student organizations. If you live on-campus, it’s almost impossible to not join at least one student organization during your freshman year. Your college offers at least one professional group for you to join that will help you get a leg up in the industry.

Brand Yourself

Just like Hershey’s, Apple, or Facebook, branding yourself will allow more employers to see you as a potential employee. Figure out how complete strangers see you by Googling your name. What would someone with no prior knowledge say about you? Work on developing professional screen names, profiles, and for Pete’s sake, enforce your privacy settings!

What other tips should college freshmen keep in mind when planning for a post-grad job?

Be sure to check out our sister post on this important subject for those about to graduate: College Seniors: 5 Things to Do Now to Help Get a Job Later.

For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Cachinko!

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Cachinko. She is also the founder & president of Come Recommended, the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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