Your Guide to Building a Career as You Study

by Sarah Ruhlman

College is your path to beginning your professional career. When you graduate, you need to start looking for jobs. Or you need to apply for postgraduate courses. The rush to find employment after graduation can be crazy. Many graduates feel that they have left it too late. There might be plenty of jobs for them to apply for, but there’s no time to boost their resume. For a better chance at launching your career, you should try to kickstart it while you’re still studying. Hundreds of other graduates will have the same qualifications as you, so how are you going to stand out? There’s a lot you can do to work on your career as you study, whether your degree is full-time or part-time.

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Photo by condesign

Learn to Schedule Yourself

Studying and trying to build a career at the same time takes a lot of work. You can end up either ignoring one of them or getting overwhelmed trying to do both. If you want to balance both things, you need to be good at sticking to a schedule. Working on your career takes a lot of time commitment, which you need to fit around your studies. Start by writing down all the things you need to do in a given week. The education side might include attending classes or completing an essay. The career aspects could be going to a paid job or internship or meeting with a mentor. Create a timetable for your whole week or even month so you know exactly what you should be doing and when.

Complete Essays in Advance

Plenty of people are capable of turning in a decent essay if they leave it until the night before they have to hand it in. However, why submit a decent essay when you can take the time to write a brilliant one? Leaving things until the last minute might seem like it’s saving you time. But it can really just make everything more stressful. And are you really making the most of that time you’re saving? If you work on your essays as soon as you receive them, you can get them out of the way. You’ll have more time to work on them and still have time left over for other things. You don’t necessarily have to have a full essay in a few days. Next time you have a comparison and contrast essay, draw up an outline as soon as possible. Even if you can’t write the full paper until later, you’ll already have the bare bones of what you want to write.

Make Studying a Regular Occurrence

Instead of only studying right before a test, you should put it into your routine. It’s easier to fit around your other commitments if it’s something you regularly do. If you leave it until later, you might have to push all your other activities aside just to study enough. And even then, you could struggle to have time to revise everything you need. Worse, you might have commitments that you can’t avoid so you have more study time. Don’t leave everything until the last second and risk having a massive panic. Study for a few minutes a day to fit it into your schedule.

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Photo by komsomolec

Find Work Experience to Fit Your Schedule

Getting work experience while you’re studying is extremely useful. If you can get a paid job, you can use it to support yourself. An internship might not be paid, but it will give you experience in your desired field. Some people choose to work during their vacations, so it doesn’t clash with their other commitments. However, many students work during the semester too. Work experience of any kind could help you stand out to employers. Although, it’s especially useful if it’s relevant to the area you want to work in. Try to find work that you can fit around your other commitments. Perhaps it could be something flexible that doesn’t have strict hours.

Form Important Contacts

It’s true that a lot of the time, it’s not what you know, but who you know. Of course, you also have to be knowledgeable, so perhaps it’s both what and who you know that matter. Form a good reputation with a professor or get to know someone through an internship. Many jobs aren’t even advertised to the public before the positions are filled. If there’s someone who can recommend you for a role, you could secure employment more easily. It’s also useful to have people who can give you advice when you need it.

 

Photo by GotCredit

Take on a Committee Role

Participating in extracurricular activities can look good on your resume. It shows employers that you can commit yourself to a number of different things at once. However, they might not care about the fact that you play basketball or are a member of the history club. But they might appreciate you being on a committee. Getting involved with a committee for a club or society shows that you have a number of skills. You can prove that you can be committed, take on a leadership role, and be proactive. There are different ways you can get involved, so pick something that plays to your strengths.

Find a Mentor

As well as having a wider network of contacts, it can be beneficial to look for a mentor figure. One of your professors or your supervisor for your internship could provide valuable advice for you. They can be useful to help you get a job or to find the right postgraduate course. However, you have to be careful to ensure that your mentor-student relationship stays professional. While it’s acceptable to form a rapport, don’t get too carried away with being their friend. It’s important to remember that they likely have a position of power over you in either an academic or professional setting.

Building your career while you study is tough, but it will give you an advantage over others. Managing your time is one of the important skills you’ll need to develop.

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12 comments

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