Congratulations! You’ve finished your first year of college. Now what? Your second year of college is a crucial time in your professional development. Complete the activities below to ensure your success.
- If you have not done so already, confirm you major. If you are still unsure about your options, complete a self-assessment to identify the top careers that coincide with your major. Speak with or shadow a professional in your career.
- Meet with your advisor to map out your plan of study. This will help you identify if it is possible to study abroad, double major or earn a minor. Choose elective courses to enhance your skills and increase your marketability.
- Pursue academic excellence. More than three out of four respondents to a Job Outlook Survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that they screen candidates by GPA.
- Conduct a mock professional job search as if you were a senior to identify the qualifications you will need in the future. O*Net and the Occupational Outlook Handbook will also identify essential skills and training requirements. Graduation will be here before you know it. You won’t have time later to gain any additional experience that these organizations require.
- Begin to build your professional wardrobe. Doing so over time will be more enjoyable and affordable. While it isn’t exciting to ask for dress pants for your birthday, you will be glad you did when you secure your first professional position.
- Gain experience. Obtain a part-time job, summer employment or volunteer position that directly relates to your future career. This will couple your strong academic background with hands-on practical experience, while also confirming your major and increasing your engagement in the classroom. Employers will also expect it. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveyed employers in 2010 to assess which factors were influential in hiring decisions. Of the responding organizations, 72.4 percent stated that they preferred candidates with experience.
- Participate in co-curricular activities. Look for leadership opportunities in student organizations, student government, service-learning, research and residence life.
- Monitor the privacy setting of your social networking sites. Whether you like it or not, employers are monitoring these sites to assess your public persona and personal brand.
- Build your network. Join a professional association in your field. Attend a conference or participate in a webinar. Create a profile on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. Connect with an organization that interests you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. This will help you locate mentors and learn more about future employment.
- Create a resume to document your activities. As the end of your second-year approaches, reflect on the year and celebrate your accomplishments. Swing by your campus career center for a personal critique of your resume and additional assistance with your career planning.
What other goals do you have for your sophomore year? Post your thoughts below.