So you’re in your very last semester of college. This is the time to enjoy life, right? Finally, pay more attention to your social calendar? To have more fun? Well, yes… but it’s also time to launch into career mode with a few career prep secrets!
To help you do just that, and make the most out of your last semester in college, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:
What is one thing every senior should do in his or her final semester in college?
Take a look. Then put their advice to work!
1. Get Started on Job Applications
Start applying for jobs and get experience interviewing. It’s never too early to get experience under your belt. Some companies hire six months in advance, so starting to reach out to desired employers is a smart decision. Keep in mind some companies hire quickly, so don’t get discouraged if you do not have a position by the time you graduate.
2. Schedule Informational Meetings
The most powerful meeting college students can have is an informational meeting. It’s is an opportunity to meet with someone they can learn from and a great way to expand their network, increase their influence, and build their brand. The best way to secure an informational meeting is to tap into their existing network of family and friends, professors, alumni networks and beyond.
3. Dabble in Different Projects
When you’re in school, you can afford to take more risks. When you graduate, though, your ability to pilot new projects, take an unpaid internship, and bounce around between companies becomes a lot harder because the stakes are higher (e.g. paying for food, rent, electricity and internet). It becomes exceptionally hard when you’re balancing your entrepreneurial dreams and a full-time job.
4. Write Thank-You Letters
Over your college career, you likely were impacted by a lot of people, from coaches to professors to administrators. Make a list of the people that influenced or helped you most and write them thank-you letters. If possible, deliver the letters by hand. You’ll find that many of your professors and influencers will come back into your life over time and they won’t forget the letter.
5. Draft a Two-Year Plan
In broad strokes, a student’s last semester is when they should ask themselves where they want to be in two years. Work backward from that two-year goal to identify all the resources and experiences that need to be accrued in order to reach the objective. Keeping in mind all the assets you’ll need to hit your target will make it easier to identify aligned opportunities as they arise.
6. Maintain a Relationship With Your Professors
Utilize your professors as a transitional tool from campus to the professional world. A working relationship with your professors can go a long way in jump starting your future career. They have life experience, can provide guidance and network contacts, and act as a reference to boost your resume. A letter of recommendation shows you applied yourself and stood out among your peers.
7. Connect and Reconnect
Once we start working, we tend to be disconnected with friends and loved ones. The thing is, we forget the importance of our connection with other people and just work, work and work. Before seniors graduate, it is essential to reconnect and meet other people. Connect with more lives that will bring them closer to success and keep them happy and sane while busy at work.
8. Take a Volunteer Trip Abroad
As a senior in college, you are about to embark on a new chapter in life. The best gift you can give yourself as this chapter begins is a broader global perspective and deeper compassion for others. A volunteer trip abroad can be life-changing and challenge you in profound ways while connecting you with like-minded individuals who share your values and even career goals.
9. Take an Internship
The best thing a senior in college can do is to take an internship, as it will prepare you for the real world. Internships are great learning experiences which provide you the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned in school, make mistakes, and network. I’ve actually known people who’ve taken internships in their last year of college, and by the time they graduated, they already had a job offer.
10. Reflect on the Future
At 22, I had no clue where I wanted to go in life. I was pulled in different directions by my own desires and the expectations of other people. Don’t be too worried if you haven’t decided on the path your life will follow. Take the time to explore, to meet and talk to people in fields that interest you, and to experience work and life. You’ll find your way soon enough.
11. Take an Entrepreneurial Class
The future of our economy is independence. Starting a business today is easier than ever, and with the internet, reaching a global market is a reality. Chances are at one point in your career, you will consider going solo. Understanding what it takes to start a business gives you the advantage of keeping an eye open to future opportunities and give you the freedom of owning your business.
12. Cherish Being a College Student
Being an undergrad in college is an experience unlike any other and college students need to cherish it. During that final semester, seniors need to embrace the fun, stress, change and challenge that is college because it’ll never be the same after they graduate. Students need to cherish what they’ve learned, who they’ve met, what they’ve done, and what’s to come.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched Business Collective. This free virtual mentorship program helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.