Just out of school and confused about what next? Career advice for college students isn’t exactly thin on the ground, but can be extremely conflicting. Not being born knowing your calling isn’t something that will send you to unemployment hell. But, you still need the right set of tools to figure out what you want from a career. Even if you know what you want, it doesn’t hurt to understand that there are multiple ways to get there. Here are a few pointers to help you figure out how to go about navigating this mire of information.
Step 1: Figure out what you’d rather be doing:
Sure, there will always be certain fields that offer the best stability and the best money that will seem attractive to people for just those two attributes. However, the best possible scenario for anybody would be to end up in a career where they’re getting paid to do the thing they enjoy doing most. So, figure out the thing that you’d rather be doing anyway, and read up on the related careers
, study requirements, etc. If it is something you enjoy that much, then the chances are reasonably high that it is something you are good at.
Step 2: Understand your Interests as Relative to your Aptitude:
You might be interested in the writing aspect of journalism, but being a journalist entails a lot of drudge work that has very little to do with creativity. Medicine might be a passion, but the gruelling pace of the study and the actual work results in a lot of people giving up halfway. It is important that you be able to assess your abilities against what interests you, and either work on the required skills, or open up your options accordingly.
Step 3: Keep your Eye Open for Possibilities:
Knowing your career path
is a good thing, but it is always a good idea to be open to possibilities and keep your alternative skills sharp. Your artistic skills are bound to come in handy in your cushy IT job as a software engineer, just as solid number-crunching skills are always in demand at research facilities. You can even develop a lucrative and creatively satisfying freelance career parallel to your “actual” one.
Step 4: Understand that Careers come in all Shapes and Sizes:
With every job description you’ve heard of, there are a whole bunch of jobs and opportunities that spring up to support it. Your degree in Corporate Communication can land you that cushy HR spot, or in a company that audits and designs communication models for other organizations. Always wanted to get into NASA but are more into accounting? Well, what do you know? NASA needs accountants too!
Research, Research, Research!
Read up on colleges, courses, placement opportunities, faculty, alumni, location of the college, and every piece of information you can get your hands on. Once you’ve zeroed in on the institutions in question, sift through your list of friends, family and acquaintances (no matter how slight) to see if any of them might be familiar with the institutions in question, and grill them for all the information they can provide.
Figure out what you want from a College
A college with high renown looks great on the resume, but not everyone is geared towards the high level of competitiveness prevalent in such institutions. If you’re of the latter ilk, you’d do just as well, or even better, at an institute that offers flexibility in courses, and lots of student support, augmented by a faculty dedicated to equipping students with all the right tools.
Consider Career Counselling
From tests to help you better understand your interests, aptitudes and their dynamics with your personality, to experts armed with any and all information you might want about the school and career of your choice; organizations dedicated to providing career advice for college students are a valuable resource for students faced with far too many options than anyone should have to deal with. Whether you feel unsure about which direction to choose, your means of reaching your goal, or even if your chosen goal is right for you, a career counsellor’s advice will generally meet all of your needs. Career guidance service providers may even give much needed help with the practical requirements of applications, skill development, etc.