19 Most Effective Career Advice for College Students: Tips for Unlocking Future Success
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HELLO COLLEGE STUDENTS, YOUNG PROFESSIONALS, AND ALL READERS! You may have career goals, but you just don’t know where to start OR you’re probably asking yourself, “What am I going to even do after I graduate?!” Trust me, I have been there! It took months of self-reflection, self-discovery and hiatus for me to figure things out for myself. You’re not alone if that is what you need to do too. Understand yourself, be passionate and persevere to achieve future success!
College is more than just textbooks and exams; it’s a place of self-development and self-discovery to prepare you for the professional world. It is not a place for the faint hearted, so take advantage of every opportunity that you can to grow and evolve in your college years.
These advice, tips, and resources that we will be providing in this post will help you to do just that!
WITH THAT SAID, HERE ARE THE 19 MOST EFFECTIVE CAREER ADVICE FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS: TIPS FOR UNLOCKING FUTURE SUCCESS!
Table of Contents
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WHY CAREER ADVICE IS IMPORTANT
Learning more about how to succeed in your career is beneficial in general. The best thing you can do for yourself is set yourself up for success by gaining all the knowledge you can to walk into your profession confidently. Receiving and accepting career advice will prevent you from making decisions you might regret, identifying areas you can improve, boosting your confidence and creating opportunities to network with other professionals.
19 EFFECTIVE CAREER ADVICE, TIPS
#1 BUILD REAL-WORLD SKILLS
This truth may suck, but the reality is: Employers prefer newly graduates with prior experience than no experience at all. With that said, consider internships, volunteer work, part-time gigs, or take courses to expand your knowledge. There are many opportunities to dip your toes into real-world waters. Find them and seize them. Arm yourself with practice skills.
How to Gain Professional Experience in College?
- To gain professional experience in college start by speaking to your faculty advisor or career center to find opportunities for internships, work-study programs in your major.
- Another way to gain professional experience is by searching for local opportunities online. A couple of great sources to help you in your job hunt are, Indeed and Career One Stop.
#2 DIVE DEEP INTO CAMPUS RESOURCES
Your campus is geared towards college students career and academic success, so that means, they have resources to help you achieve your career goals!
Check out your career center for resume building, interview prep, networking events, job fairs and more. They got your covered.
Where to Get Career Help in College?
- You can get career help at your career center. Same as the first point, you can find opportunities to step into the real world AND expand your field of expertise. They also offer one-on-one sessions with career counselors, so take advantage!
#3 CONSIDER WORK-STUDY PROGRAMS
Effective Career Advice #3: Work-Study! A work study program is offered by your college and/or university to students with financial needs. If you are one, take advantage of this! You can earn more toward your educational expenses WHILE working a job related to your course of study.
How to Join a Work-Study Program?
- Speak to your financial aid office and they will provide you a list of work-study positions available for you to join.
- Read this source, “How to Apply for Work Study” on more steps of qualifying for and joining a work-study program.
#4 HARMONIZE WORK AND LIFE
Your goal should neither be live to work or work to live, it should be: I work because I love and value my job. I live because I love and value my life. Enjoy every season you are in, work intentionally and purposefully not on auto-pilot. You have a purpose in and out of work, so balance your work-life and ensure holistic well-being.
How to Manage and Balance Your Time?
- A great source to managing and balancing your time is Toggl. It is a time-tracking app that can schedule regular breaks while you juggle school, life and work. AND it can monitor how much time you dedicate to various activities. This app will help ensure a balance. It can also help with schedule and project management as a college student.
#5 FOLLOW YOUR HEART'S CALLING
If you have something on your heart that just will not go away, pursue it! Do not push it down thinking you are not capable enough. You are fully capable of making any dream you have, a reality! A saying that I love from Steve Harvey is, “Quitting is Guaranteed Failure. Not Trying is Guaranteed Failure.”
When you try, you will fail, but every time you fail is a lesson learned and a step closer to success. Pursuing your heart’s calling, your passion, ensures sustained interest and a natural inclination to excel. Encourage yourself, want that dream badly enough that failure is not an option and success is the only result you will rest for.
How to Identify Your Passion?
- Check out our post about Best Career Books to Read, any book from this article will help you to Identify your passion, what you have always wanted for your future self and take action to achieve it.
#6 AIM FOR EXCELLENCE NOT PERFECTION
This career advice is an eye opener. Practice DOES NOT make perfect, it makes improvement. Excellence is a journey. Stay driven and always look for ways to improve and learn. Remember: Motivation is what gets you started; Dedication keeps you going. Be dedicated and committed to your career goals.
How to Achieve Excellence?
- Achieve excellence by setting incremental goals that can challenge you without overwhelming out.
- Celebrate every small and big win. Don’t grow complacent.
- A great source to achieve excellence is Mindset by Carol Dweck. Excellence begins as a mindset, and Carol’s book will help your mindset grow to stay adaptable and resilient.
#7 SOCIAL MEDIA: YOUR CAREER CATALYST
There are numerous brands scouting for talent, and you might just be one they’re looking for! Follow your dream companies on social media, engage with them and stay updated. Doing so will keep you motivated, engaged, and on the look out for any opportunities they may have for you to join their or related companies, team.
How to Make Your Profile Professional?
#8 CREATE A VISION BOARD
Envision your future. Your aspirations, goals, visions, are the compass that will guide you on your path to both career and personal success. It may evolve as you continue to grow, but having a direction helps in navigating choices.
How to Create a Vision Board?
- Creating a digital vision board is easy using Notion. It is fun and easily accessible through your laptop, tablet and phone. Find tutorials on YouTube for creating a vision board, goals and milestones on Notion.
- Creating a physical vision board is a bit more work, but it is rewarding to see it everyday. Having a physical visual is a great daily reminder of living your days purposefully and pursuing your goals actively. A cork board from amazon is a great product to use to pin pictures, post its, quotes, certificates and more to.
#9 EMBRACE STUMBLES, EMBRACE FAILURE
Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s a part of it! Learn from your missteps, refine and surge ahead with the newfound wisdom.
Just like when you ACTUALLY stumble and fall, it can be a bit embarrassing, BUT you always get back up. You don’t remain down on the ground, you dust yourself off and keep going.
How to Use Failures to Support You?
- To use failures to support you, it starts with your mindset. It’s humbling yourself and accepting that not everything is going to be in your favor, and that there is no such thing as complete perfection. It is about reflecting on those failures to help you improve inside and out.
- A great book to read is Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell. He helps you to shift your mindset and understand that mistakes and failures are valuable in contributing to your personal and professional growth.
#10 SEEK OUT OPPORTUNITIES
Be an opportunity architect; Not waiting for the right moment, but creating it! Whether it’s a project idea, networking event or a new course– take the initiative! Step out in faith and expectance that a greater thing is yet to come.
Need Help Seeking Out Opportunities?
- Coursera is a great platform to help you seek out opportunities to grow and learn. It will help you to stay proactive in your field.
Best Career Books to Read
#11 BE OPEN TO CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
Receiving constructive criticism can most definitely be a blow to one’s pride. It can suck at times to realize that you have much room for improvement, but the best thing about constructive criticism is: you haven’t reached the end of your potential.
If someone provides constructive criticism to you, it means they see your potential and that they know you can achieve more and be more.
Receive each criticism with a grain of salt, you don’t have to apply everything. Self-reflect and decide for yourself which ones are best for you.
Tips for Receiving Constructive Criticism
- Stay open and non-defensive. Acting defensive and offended can be your instinct, but it is crucial to remind yourself that there is value in the feedback. Use it to your advantage.
- A great book to read to help you receive constructive criticism is “Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well” by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen. It delves deep into the topic of feedback and how to take it in stride, and use it for your own personal and professional growth.
#12 SEEK, QUESTION, UNDERSTAND
In interviews, meetings or networking events, don’t just listen. Ask questions that give you deeper insights.
Tips for this Career Advice
- Practice active listening and ask open-ended questions
- Attend seminars, engage in debates, and always be curious
#13 SMART GOALS: PLAN WITH PRECISION
Plan with precision by setting SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound goals. Break down larger goals into actionable steps/milestones to achieve. It will be much more attainable and less stressful. The light at the end of the tunnel can more easily be seen by setting SMART goals.
How to Set SMART Goals
- Identify what your career and life goals are, if they are realistically attainable within a certain timeframe. Keep in mind internal and external factors that contribute to achieving the goal.
- Use Trello to help you stay organized and track goals and tasks. It will make achieving your SMART goals much easier.
#14 KEEP YOUR SKILLS UP TO DATE
The best version you should live out today is the future you want to be. It is doing your best each day to improve yourself and get one step closer to success. Always be in the quest for self-enhancement. Expand your skills and overall knowledge, do something out of your comfort zone. Stand out of the crowd.
Tips to Keep Your Skills Up to Date
- Dedicate time weekly for skill enhancement or learning something new, outside of your college courses
- Watch TED Talks to gain insights from global experts on a variety of topics
#15 IT'S OKAY TO SEEK GUIDANCE
Most Effective Career Advice #15: It’s okay to seek guidance. There’s strength in vulnerability. If you are not sure, ask for help! It is good to be self-sufficient, but if you do not know where to start, asking someone will save you time and trouble.
Ways to Seek Guidance
- Find a mentor in your field or attend networking events
- A great resource to support this advice Is, MentorNet. It is a platform that connects students with mentors in various professions.
#16 PRIORITIZE: SOMETIMES, LET GO
The road to career success might require some sacrifices, but short-term pain often leads to long-term gain.
Tips to Help You Prioritize
- Evaluate tasks based on urgency and importance
- Focus on what truly matters
- Read Greg McKeown’s Book Essentialism to help you achieve big dreams and focus on the more urgent matters
#17 YOUR ETHICAL COMPASS
In the professional realm, integrity matters greatly. Follow your own code of ethics as well as your company’s.
Tip: Periodically invest and refine your personal code of conduct. Do your due diligence and research your job’s prior to working.
#18 UPHOLD YOUR VALUES
We all have core values, and it is incredibly important to uphold them when making any sort of life decision. Do not set them aside for the sake of money, social status or recognition. It is not worth sacrificing yourself for superficial things.
Ensure you align your career path with your core beliefs, not the other way around.
How to Ensure Your Career Choices Align with Your Values?
- To ensure your career choices align with your values, is to obviously identify and list what those values are. When deciding if a career is for you, research what it entails and compare it to your core values. Ensure that you are not sacrificing anything big.
- Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead is a great read for understanding how to incorporate values into leadership and decision-making.
#19 YOU'RE A WORK IN PROGRESS
It’s okay not to have everything figured out! Your college years, your twenties, thirties, basically your entire life, is for exploration, growth and learning. Never think you’ve reached the end of your potential. As long as you are living, you will always have room to improve.
Ways to Improve and Learn?
- Improve and learn by reading and self-educating. I personally highly recommend the bible because it cuts deep and makes you self-reflect A LOT. AND you are strengthening your relationship with the Lord.
- Another way to improve and learn is by understanding the importance of your years. Life is a marathon NOT a sprint.
- A great read is “The Defining Decade” by Meg Jay. It provides insights into transformative years of young adulthood.
College life is a whirlwind of experiences, but with the proper guidance, the challenges of transitioning into the professional world can be much less intimidating.
Remember, it’s about the journey, the growth, making mistakes and learning from them, and upholding your values!
I hope this article has empowered you! That it will help you to navigate your journey with confidence, armed with the knowledge that every step, whether forward or backward, is a step of growth and a step toward success.
You’ve Got This!
love, Jas Joy