Posted November 1st, 2011
November is the 42nd annual National Career Development Month. And if you check out the 25 ways to advance your career below, you’ll be well on your way to professional success.
1. Ever heard of the popular phrase of “It’s the economy, stupid” during the 1992 Bill Clinton campaign? Well, this is the same concept.
Get involved, stupid.
Just for clarification, that was a play on words; not calling anyone stupid
But seriously, this is the simplest way to develop a career while in college. You can join a student organization, write for the student newspaper, complete a research project or try out for the next theatre production. It is amazing how much you can accomplish if you simply just show up.
2. Speak with, or shadow, a professional in your future career field.
3. Enrich your network. Join LinkedIn or update your profile. Reconnect with your previous supervisors. Staying in touch will help you secure future references, and maintaining those relationships will potentially provide job leads.
4. Make a quick list of your accomplishments during the past year for your future resume.
5. Write your elevator speech, summarizing your education, experience and career goals. You never know when you might run into someone who can connect you to your dream job.
6. Read about careers at O*Net or the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
7. Complete a career inventory to identify the top occupations that match your interests. Speak with your college career center to learn more about these resources.
8. Browse your college or university catalog and identify three course descriptions that sound engaging.
9. Identify common career paths for your major and visit your career center for information on the destination of recent graduates.
10. Locate at least three blogs that you can follow to stay informed of best practices and current trends in your field. If you are feeling ambitious, make a comment on one of their posts.
11. Many employers are using behavior-based interview questions which require you to share a story that demonstrates a specific skill. Assess your accomplishments during the past year to identify a time you solved a problem, worked on a team or managed a large project. Remember to provide evidence that demonstrates your effectiveness.
12. Identify your favorite classes, past achievements and hobbies. Assess if these interests align with your career goals or academic major.
13. Meet with your advisor or review your online degree audit. Celebrate your academic progress and identify your graduation timeline.
14. Create a profile on an online job board, such as the Department of Labor or your campus career center. Browse their internship or part-time job opportunities related to your career interests.
15. Talk with upper-class students in the major you are considering to solicit their advice and to learn more about the program.
16. Talk with friends and family about their own professional journey. Inquire about the process they utilized to select their careers and achieve their goals. You might be surprised to discover a shared experience or a helpful technique.
17. Hit the books. In a recent Job Outlook Survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, three out of four respondents stated that they screen candidates by their GPA.
18. Conduct a mock professional job search to identify the qualifications you will need in the future. Find a job you love on CareerBuilder or Monster. Identify the qualifications that employers are seeking and develop a plan to satisfy these criteria in the future.
19. Review the privacy settings of Facebook and other social networks you use to ensure that your personal information is protected.
20. Identify the professional associations or certification agencies of your future career field. Visit their websites to learn more about upcoming events or job requirements.
21. Listen to your voicemail through the lens of your future employers. More than likely, they do not want to enjoy the music while their party is being reached. They also do not want to contact email@example.com. Update your contact information to ensure you make a professional first impression.
22. Say, “Thank you.” Send a personal note to someone who has invested in your professional development.
23. Volunteer. You’ll not only give back to the community, but you will also gain valuable job skills and confirm your career interests.
24. Locate at least three organizations that interest you as a future employee. Like them on Facebook or visit their websites to learn more about their opportunities.
25. Engage in conversations with a mentor, faculty member, staff member or respected peer about your career goals.
About the Author: Billie Streufert is director of the Academic Success Center at the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota. With nearly ten years of experience in career and academic advising, she is passionate about helping individuals discover and achieve their goals. She is eager to connect with students via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and her blog.