Although it’s only January, if you’re a senior, your time as a student is dwindling. But regardless how many college years you have left, make sure to make the most of the time by doing the following five things.
1. Complete an Internship/Find an On-campus Job
Picking up a job during college, even if it involves cleaning up other people’s messes in the dinning hall, garners a new sense of responsibility. Many colleges offer employment options, including paid and unpaid internships in different fields that can help students explore their interests. Whether it’s full-time, part-time, an internship, or even volunteering, employers like to see that your time spent at college wasn’t wasted on missed opportunities.
2. Create Multiple Resumes
Colleges provide students with great resources like career centers, computer labs, and design programs that make it easy to experiment and create multiple resumes. It’s a good idea to have a few resumes on hand that show you’re qualified for a number of positions and in a range of industries. In addition, resumes are getting more high-tech, so a hard-copy resume may not cut it anymore. Having an online resume, video resume or a blog that has a compilation of tabs displaying your skills gives you an edge over the competition and shows that you’re keeping up with the times. For more information on the benefits of multiple resumes check out the article, “Resumes: Why Have Just One?.”
3. Build a Social Network
When I talk about building a social network, I don’t mean friending people on Facebook. Four years of college gives you ample time to reach out to friends, family members, mentors, bosses and co-workers to help you in the process of attaining your first job out of college or a great internship you would have never heard about otherwise. Networking remains the number one way to snag a job, so it’s best to jump on the bandwagon early. Remember, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
4. Learn to Budget
Whether or not you decide to pick up a job while in college, it is incredibly important and crucial to your future that you learn to budget—and budget well! During college orientation, it’s typical to see banks and credit card companies shoving pamphlets in unknowing hands as they stand by their kiosks around campus. They are trying to persuade students to sign up for an account with them. This can be dangerous for undergrads who are ill-versed in the implications of a bad credit score and debt. Before you commit, make sure you do your research!
Budgeting no matter what the status of your income can be difficult. Blowing through your parent’s monthly allowance on dining out when it’s less expensive for you to use the dining hall plan that has already been paid for is only going to leave you broke and your parents furious. Think about the bare necessities.
5. Study Abroad
This is one opportunity all college students should take advantage of. It’s important to realize that the “real world” is waiting for you after four years of fun. Depending on your money situation and job status after college, taking that backpacking trip through Europe may not be feasible. Once you have the responsibility of a job along with paying rent, a mortgage, car insurance, etc, your dreams of traveling are going to turn into exactly that; a dream. Studying abroad in college gives you the opportunity to take classes, travel, and use financial aid to cushion any money woes.
From an employment standpoint, interviewers love to hear about your study abroad experience so be sure to add that to your resume(s). It provides you with a good topic for conversation. Fluency in a foreign language gives you extra bonus points in the working world.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at WetFeet!
About the Author: Julie Feinerman is an editor at WetFeet. WetFeet provides career advice through our magazine, insider guide series, and website (WetFeet.com). Our mission is to equip job seekers with the advice, research, and inspiration to plan and achieve a successful career. For more information, visit WetFeet.com.