Preparing for college is truly where you career journey begins. Prior to this in high/ secondary school, you would have taken a wide range of courses. This is usually without any specific clear subject area focus.
College is the first step to narrowing down your educational discipline which will shape the direction of your career.
Your subject choices should not be taken lightly. This is an ideal time to have a conversation with a career coach, mature friend or a mentor to help you chart your career direction.
This blog posts is very personal to me as it includes lessons learnt. This is the advice that I would give a business student today entering college.
Looking back there are some things that I would have done differently as a business student to better prepare me to enter into the world of work.
Hereunder are 10 essential tips that a business student should consider when preparing for college:-
Choose your major carefully
Reflection and research are critical at this stage to really narrow down what you would like to do. If you are confused about what major to choose then consider placing yourself in environments where you can discover what you like.
Sometimes the best way to identify what you like is by eliminating what you don’t like. Internships, job shadowing, hobbies and volunteering are avenues that you can consider as part of the career exploration process.
As an example from my own career path, one of my biggest considerations in my career journey was whether I wanted to pursue accounting or economics.
During this decision making process, I considered the ratio of vacancies that I saw in both areas. This was a key factor to me choosing accounting. I felt that choosing economics will significant limit the number of jobs I could get in the future.
I believe it is critical to explore the job market and also decide on where you would like to live after studies. This can save you time, energy and money before committing to a degree.
No use doing a degree if thereafter you want to live in a particular country and cannot find a suitable vacancy in the field.
However, with that being said, many people also pivot along the way. One may start out in one discipline and change along the way.
A great example of this is from the Life of legendary Automobile Executive Lee Iacocca. Iacocca initially entered Ford as in an engineer training programme but later changed to sales and marketing arm of the business.
So choose your major carefully but do not beat yourself up if you feel the need to pivot later on.
Attempt harder electives first
Review the elective requirements of your institution and map out your elective subjects. I would recommend that you attempt the harder electives first when you are new to the institution and have energy.
While the programme progresses, chances are that your majors will become tougher.
So balance the beginning stages of your studies by pairing your majors with harder electives and your latter years when your major gets more intense with easier electives.
Sign up for a foreign language
Looking back this is one area that I wish I had paid much more attention during higher education.
My recommendation will be to keep a foreign language as long as you possibly can in your choice of subjects during your education. If your major degree is business consider doing a language as a minor area.
Furthermore, consider a double major in business and a foreign language. The world is truly a global village. A foreign language is useful in every sector.
Tourism is an important global industry where knowledge of a second language is an asset.
Being bi-lingual could open several doors and be the thing that gives you a competitive edge over another candidate. If I had to do it all over again, I would have paid more attention to mastering Spanish.
Sign up for a law course
Whether you will like to be an entrepreneur or work for a corporation, an understanding of the law is paramount. The world today is a lot more litigious than in times past. One must always be mindful of legal implications in your day to day dealings.
From handling customer complaints, internal issues or vetting contracts, one must bear the law in mind.
For example, a disgruntled customer can take legal action against an organisation. Knowledge of the law in this situation could help you to deal with the matter in an appropriate way.
At the end of the day every business is about profit and loss. Having a knowledge of accounting even though it may not be your core focus is essential. So sign up for an accounting course even though it is not your major.
Explore digital marketing
Today, every business student must learn and understand digital marketing and all the various different social media platforms.
Even though your major may not be journalism or marketing, social media is key part of the operations of all businesses today.
I encourage any business student to explore the online world and gain an understanding of as many platforms as possible.
Start a Blog
I truly believe that every student and in particular business student today must start a blog. The many things that you are required to learn in order to start and run a blog are an internship all on its own. Internships as well can be limited a competitive. Starting a blog on the other hand is entirely within your control.
Starting a blog will help you sharpen skills that are required for the job market such as learning on your own and digital marketing which every business is involved in at some level today.
Feel free also to check out my article on 10 reasons why every college student must blog which provides detailed explanations of the advantages of blogging.
Blogging can be the factor that gives you an edge over another candidate in the job market. If you are interested in starting a blog, then there is a free blogging quickstart guide in our free resource library. Click HERE to access.
Develop a skill while getting a degree
With the growth of technology and artificial intelligence, traditional jobs are disappearing.
Though you may complete a degree there is no guarantee that that you will find a job after. If you develop a skill while getting a degree, you may be able to start a business or earn money on the side while you job search.
You consider several areas such as braiding hair, photography, candle making and landscaping. Also consider someone within your community who may be able to pass on a skill for you for free.
Udemy is also a great online resource where you can get courses on a wide range of subject matters at an affordable price.
As an example, if you develop skills in cake baking and decorating this could be turned into a very lucrative business.
There are several persons who earn so much more money in an area of skill as oppose to working at traditional jobs. Pick something that you like you can start it as a hobby. Watch You Tube video to help refine a skill while at school.
Develop soft skills
Soft skills are those skills which along your degree which are essential any job that you go to in the future. These include skills such as team work, public speaking and listening skills.
Even though you are strong at your core degree you need to be able to work along with your colleagues. Joining student groups and on campus bodies can help you develop these skills at school.
The abillty to plan effectively is a skill that you need for life. Try to develop hacks that allow you to be productive and efficient while at school. You will need these on the job as you need to manage job deadlines amidst all your life requirements.
If you are in college, you may also find other college related articles on this blog useful. Feel free to click any of the following links below to explore:-
10 Top Tips and Tricks To Saving Money In College
15 Profitable Things To Do Before Graduating From College
How To Stay Motivated in College
How To Avoid College Burnout
How To Prepare For A Job Fair
How To Write A Resume When You Have No Job Experience
Your time at school though stressful between all the examinations and project deadlines is some of the fondest times that you will remember.
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