22 Feb 15 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO BEFORE YOU GRADUATE
Do not be fooled by the fancy FYB pictures, dinners and the excitement of graduation, if you do not want to enjoy the harsh realities most unprepared graduates go through after you graduate, you are going to have to do much more than sit in classrooms, breakdown trending gists, take pictures and play Candy Crush with friends while in school.
In the university, polytechnic or any educational institution, you are encouraged to find your bliss and experience life. That is all good, but you should also be acquiring skills that will help you get started with your career. Here is a list of 15 things you should do before you graduate.
Know your prospects
Before you start the journey of finding or creating an opportunity, you first need to know yourself on a deep level. Anything you do should come out of a sense of who you are so that your unique skill-set can be used to the fullest extent possible. Read more on how Temperaments affect success at work
By identifying what you can offer that is also in line with your personal values, you can begin to hone what is or is not an opportunity for you. For example, if you are highly skilled in biology and value helping others, then a great opportunity would be to look into medical or nursing school (as opposed to becoming a graphic designer.)
To get a better sense of your unique offering, take a half-day retreat to reflect on what makes you special, what you value, and what skills you’d like to offer others. Beforehand, ask those closest to you to answer the following questions (and answer them yourself) to use for your reflection:
Start a blog, a focus group, a conference, a club, or even a business this year! There are many reasons why it is an ideal time to start something.
You will leave a legacy. It is rewarding to know that something you created may continue to be enjoyed by future generations at the school, and add to the campus culture once you have graduated. This can be a major highlight of your resume as an innovative experience. see 12 benefits of an early career start
You will learn project management; managing people and competing tasks is no easy feat, and if you can get this experience early, you will be a stronger leader in your first job or internship.
As much as creating opportunities is based on doing, it is also about how you do it. Being a good person and being positive about others invites good things to happen to you in return. Take time to genuinely connect with others, instead of having a one-track mind for building an opportunity for yourself. By creating lasting, intentional relationships, people will remember you when an opportunity arises that requires your expertise.
Volunteer your time and talent, offer guidance and counsel based on your skills, these will establish credibility and lay the foundation for when a full-blown opportunity presents itself. If you have a listening ear and want to become a human resource manager, volunteer your services at a recruitment or training programme or offer your time pro bono providing recruitment information to peers.
Get Work Experience
The undergraduate years are one of the best times to gain work experience. Nowadays, an internship is an audition for your first job after graduation. Now may be the time when you should figure out what you love doing, and what you do not love doing. It is also the time to learn what you are good at, and what you are bad at.
Not only does internships offer valuable work experience, but they are also an excellent way to make connections with potential employers. An internship will also give you solid experience to list on your resume. Try different types of jobs so that you can start understanding what you want to do when you graduate. See the 5 types of jobs available to you
Adopt a professional attitude
Professionalism is the grey area of every curriculum in school. It is a pattern of self-coordination expected of every professional. Ability to work diligently, manage resources to produce quality work, beat deadlines and achieve above average results are some positive dispositions necessarily not taught in classrooms.
Most people do not succeed based on their technical competence alone. No matter how competent you may be, the ability to build and maintain relationships is an essential part of success. Students who choose to present a “can do”, “let’s give it a try”, “I’ll do what it takes” attitude are most likely to succeed because of their great attitude. They influence others in a positive way.
Be open to opportunities
You might set out with a goal in mind of exactly what you want to do and how you want to do it, but rarely will life work out exactly how you think it will. By not holding anything too tightly, you open yourself up to opportunities that may not have even been on your radar before.
For instance, if you are a storyteller at heart and have a passion for giving other people a voice; you might be able to use those skills in corporate communications or marketing job. You get to know people and their story while also meeting a business need. Be flexible as you take action. Sometimes opportunities that use your skills are different from what you expect.
There’s no one more important to trust than yourself. Sometimes we lose trust in ourselves after we make a mistake or after someone criticizes us harshly or constantly. It can feel more difficult to make decisions when you cannot trust yourself because you fear you will make the wrong choice. On the other hand, you might be more prone to criticizing your own decisions after you make them.
Building trust in yourself can help boost your decision-making skills and self-confidence. This can make life feel a little easier and much more enjoyable. The good news is that even if you do not trust yourself now, with some effort you can build up that trust over time.
Get a valuable certification
Continuous thirst for knowledge is a key element in career development. Continuing education and certification programs can be an investment of time and resources; they help provide recognition for your specialized knowledge or skill set, which can be a significant benefit when it comes to landing certain Jobs.
These certifications can differentiate you from other young professionals in your field, showing that you have a demonstrated commitment to understanding and excelling in your profession. The time and effort invested in professional certifications often results in increased income and professional credibility.
Visit a career centre
Before the ordeal of self-discovery confuses you, do not assume that your campus career centres or career development platforms are only for a specific type of people or interests. No matter the course of study, or area of interest, you should interact with a career centre. Learn how to write a résumé and cover letter, research potential employers, ace an interview, and network effectively.
Waiting until after graduation will be a bad option because at that time, you will have too much pressure to get a job and the basic knowledge you may be insufficient for what you want.
Skills matter a lot nowadays. This cannot be overemphasize. As more roles and industries become more technologically focused, employers are hiring based on skills, and not based on where you went to school, or what your major was.
Lucky for you, it is now easy to build these skills if you do not already have them. Technical skills like financial modelling, use of Microsoft office tools and other workplace tools are easy to learn. There are over a hundred thousand learning platforms to learn, sharpen and advance skills online and offline.
Join a society
Even if you are not an active member of a student society with an administrative position, you will demonstrate a number of qualities simply by becoming a member. Firstly, you will be a team player who is able to show commitment to fellow members of the society.
Secondly, by succeeding in your academic work alongside your participation in a society, you will demonstrate time management skills and come across as a well-rounded individual.
Take a leadership role in an organization, it helps to embrace your inner leader and at least try to accomplish something. see reasons why you should build your network
Get a Mentor
Recommendations about mentors cannot be overemphasized. Mark Zuckerberg enjoyed mentorship from Steve Jobs, Bill Gates credited Warren Buffet for teaching him how to deal with tough situation and how to think long term also, Opera Winfrey emphasized the influence of Maya Angelou on her career, and she emphatically stated that she does not think anyone in the world can be successful without having a mentor.
Having a mentor is synonymous to standing on the shoulder of a giant who can see farther than you. You enjoy a privileged career direction and aided decision-making. see 10 benefits of having mentors
Clean your dirty social media presence
Regardless of whether you will be furthering education or starting new job, you are going to want to present the best you to the world. Ask yourself, “Is there a photo or comment that paints a wrong picture of my values and I don’t want people to see?” If there is, hit delete.
Learn to communicate appropriately
Communication is key, the ability to express ideas in an appropriate form and get an appropriate response is an essential skill regardless of what your job title or description is. Reading, writing and listening carefully sounds too familiar and as a result, taken for granted.
Learn to write emails appropriately, research and make reports, collect data, analyze, and document in standard formats, make presentations and speeches well enough to get your opinion well understood. These expressive skills can be learnt by listening, taking notes, learning how to and practicing public speaking. 10 things to note before you send your next email
Become a wise mentor for a Fresher doing your course.
The ability to share knowledge is a very admirable trait for young professionals because it is an indicator of a developed leadership and management qualities. The level of confidence and motivation of early peer-mentorship will reinforce your studying skills and keen to find solutions to problems and the benefits form a sense of fulfillmentnt and personal growth.