Career Advice Both College and High School Students Can Benefit From

As a student, it seems as though you are always receiving advice and being taught important life lessons. However, despite this, life can still be confusing when it comes to preparing for the career world. Resumes, job interviews, and internships are just a few areas that seem gray, but the following tips can help clear up a lot of confusion, no matter the level of your education.

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Craft Your Resume

It doesn’t matter if you are seeking part-time or full-time work or an internship, a resume is how you set yourself apart from other applicants and show you are more than capable of handling the job. When crafting your resume, start with a qualifications summary followed by your education. As you gain more job experience, your education can move farther down. Be sure to read the job description carefully, and include those keywords to attract a hiring manager’s attention. Depending on where you are in your education, you might lack job experience, so fill it with other things like volunteer work, extracurricular activities, internships, or various odd jobs. Included in your resume should be a list of at least three references, but this shouldn’t be your best friend or significant other. Choose people who know you academically and professionally such as professors, bosses, co-workers, and mentors.

Seek Out Job Experience

If you need practical job experience, there are plenty of ways to go about it. For those still in high school, use this time to explore potential careers via job fairs and job shadowing. If college is near, apply for internships the summer before and after senior year. You might even consider taking a gap year to work, travel, and figure out what it is you really want to do. Volunteering is a great way to gain meaningful job experience as well, as it widens your network and opens your eyes to potential career choices you might not have considered. Remember, your career and future is your choice, and it’s okay if it doesn’t match up with those of your friends and peers. Keep your options open and remind yourself that at no point are you required to attend a certain college or pursue a particular career.

Practice for Job Interviews

If you’ve never been through the formal job interview process, you probably have no idea what to expect. Preparation is crucial in order to put your best foot forward in the interview for a job or internship. The interview is all about the questions, so set yourself up for success and minimal awkward silences by researching potential interview questions you may encounter. Have a parent do a mock interview with you so that you can see areas where you need improvement. Speaking of parents, don’t underestimate them as a helpful resource. From interview experience to resume guidance to a networking resource, now is the time to listen to your parents and heed their advice.

Expand Your Network

When it comes to the career world, knowing the right person can go a long way as far as a job reference, mentor, and career/life advice. This is where networking comes in, and it can start with your parents. If your parent has a friend or a friend of a friend that is in a career field that interests you, utilize it. Ask about job shadowing or, at the very least, conduct an interview to get a better idea of what the job entails and if it sounds like something you’d be interested in pursuing. Of course, one of the easiest ways to expand your network is with LinkedIn. Hiring managers for jobs and internships use LinkedIn to find candidates, and this is also a place for you to follow companies you are interested in to stay on top of openings and news.

The career world might be an unknown place at the moment, but at one point or another, it was this way for everyone. Rather than worry and stress, take steps now to start preparing. Both college and high school students can benefit from career prep, giving you a serious leg up on reaching your goals.


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