If you’re still working your way through school, you may think you need to wait to get a jumpstart on your career. But the truth is, career success often starts before your last classes end. You should start building your experience and working on your professional appeal well ahead of graduation. So if you have your eyes on career success in the future, start by getting yourself ready in the present with these tips from expert career coach Sharon McCormick.
Spend Some Time Polishing Your Professional Resume
The importance of professional writing cannot be stressed enough. Your resume and cover letter will be the first impressions you make on potential employers, whether you’re aiming for a summer gig or your first real job. So you have to make sure your resume stands out in a positive way.
As you add information and build your first resume, consider receiving guidance from Sharon McCormick, who offers a free resume review and can craft the perfect document. Using a resume review and writing service will give your education and experience the attention it deserves from prospective employers. You will also want to work on your cover letter skills as well, to help your applications stand out. Make sure yours are tailored to the job in question, but don’t be afraid to use your cover letter to reframe your abilities so they fit your dream position.
You might even come to the conclusion that your resume is lacking. If you simply need more knowledge and skills to reach your goals, don’t rule out the possibility of going back to school. Consider popular programs in fields like business and nursing, as you can shape your education to meet your personal needs and aspirations. In the end, you’ll have the resume you need, backed by practical, relevant coursework.
Think Outside the Box When It Comes to Building Experience
Most high school and college students think they need a paid position to pad their professional experience. But volunteer hours can count as well. When you volunteer for a cause that is related to your interests, you are gaining hands-on skills and knowledge just as you would in a traditional job. Plus, you may even discover new passions as you work to help worthy causes. If volunteer work is not for you, there are other college career builders you could try as well. Taking a year off between high school and college, or college and your career can broaden your perspectives and give you skills that are sure to impress future employers.
Of course, many students also look to internships to help improve their education and enhance their level of professional experience in the real world. Check with your advisor or your school’s career offices to find internship opportunities that may be open to you, or start your internship search online with organizations that interest you.
Consider Starting Your Own Small Business or Side Gig
Another interesting way to grow your professional skills is to start your own business. You can use your business as a money-making side gig during college, or it could even blossom into a full-time career. Learning the ropes of running your own small business can also be a great way to network with professionals. By the time you graduate, you will already be an established professional with a next-level knowledge of business operations and management.
Speaking of management, you will want to manage your social media presence as well, since it can have an impact on your business and career. Clean up your posts and photos so that they represent you in a positive light and don’t be surprised if potential employers take a peek at your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profiles.
A successful career can start earlier than you think. So if you’re in college or high school, start preparing yourself now so that you can live the life of your dreams later. Challenge yourself to learn new skills, absorb fresh experiences and get the most out of these last years, months or weeks of your education.
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Kelli Brewer is part of DeployCare.org, which offers support to service members and their families. Through her writings she hopes to share resources and solutions for issues commonly faced by military families before, during and after deployment.