Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Resume: 5 Ways to Be Career-Ready (While Still in School) Part 1

     Sometimes college can feel like a four-year long waiting period. It can be hard to think long-term when assignments and responsibilities pile up. As you complete those assignments, consider this list I've compiled of ways to prepare yourself while still in school for just about any career. 

 Ways to Be Career-Ready (While Still in School) Part 1

1. Learn, Don’t Just Perform
Consider why you are in university: for a stellar GPA or for knowledge? A flawless GPA looks good on a resume, but competent application of knowledge is what will bring quality to your work. Valuing learning over just performing can help you not only earn good grades, but also prepare you for the workplace as you acquire (and remember) what you learn in class...even in general education classes. I know Gen-Eds are the bane of some students’ existence, but you never know what information will be helpful in the future, whether in your own life and work or in connecting with others. 

2. Ditch the Sweats 
The siren call of sweatpants can be alluring on a Monday morning, but once you’ve received that diploma, sweats will be for off-hours and weekends only. Dressing for class as if it were work can help you get into the habit early. We often hear that appearances don’t matter, but the way in which you present yourself does send a message, whether its a message you intend to send or not. On an off day, consider dressing one step above how you feel because if you’re exhausted, will wearing clothes that look and feel like a Snuggie help? Ha, for many reasons, probably not. 

3. Be Thorough 
As someone who likes to just finish the project then go over the details, I’ve had a hard time with this one.  Being thorough goes hand-in-hand with valuing learning over performing.  Get used to reading through directions (and checking due dates!) carefully, editing papers multiple times, and going above and beyond the minimum requirements. Save time and energy in the long run by completing things correctly the first time and on time.  As my communication professors tell us often, if you miss a deadline in the workplace, you’re out. 

4. Know Your Values
As a twenty-something, there seems to be an endless stream of advertisements, causes, opportunities, clubs, etc. coming at us from all sides, giving us options as to where to spend our time, energy, and resources. One thing I’ve learned to do is establish “core values” that help me narrow down these things to invest what I have well. What are you really passionate about?  What is most important to you? What are your goals?
      Letting questions such as these guide your distribution of time, energy, and resources can help you know when to say “yes” and “no”.  No matter what career(s) lie ahead, getting into the habit of filtering life through core values now can help you live a more focused and impactful life today and into the future.

5. Be Teachable
The twenties are an invigorating time of life, full of learning, mistakes, dreams, and decisions. No one has all of the answers, so it is very important to remain teachable, whether you’re being taught by professors, peers, people younger, older, more or less experienced than you. Even people who you would not necessarily want to emulate can teach you as you filter their words and actions through core values. Someone who’s heart is open to being taught will only benefit a university and the workplace. 

And there you have it: Part 1 of Being Career-Ready (While Still in School)! (Thanks to my ever-wise dad for his contributions!)

What are some ways you are preparing yourself for post-graduation life? Or if you’re already in the workplace, what do you wish you had known back in college/life before your job? 

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