10 Ways to Self-Start Your Future Career
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10 Ways to Self-Start Your Future Career

Graduation may seem far away if you still have a couple more years to go, but it doesn't hurt to jump start your career now than later.

10 Ways to Self-Start Your Future Career

It's never too early to start planning for your future career. You might be worrying about that exam you have in a few hours, but one thing that most students in their freshmen and sophomore years don't worry about enough is preparing for their future career. Since freshmen and sophomores are a while away from graduating, it is easy to ignore thoughts of the future and just coast through each semester. Instead of avoiding what will eventually be adulthood, be a self-starter and begin planning for your future outside of college now. You don't have to do anything crazy like try to get a full time internship when you've got a full plate of exams. Similarly, you don't have to wear business suits to network at school events. You can still take the time to be a carefree student while getting ahead of the game. Keep it simple and follow these simple steps to self-start your career as a young college student.

1. Join LinkedIn

This one might be a bit obvious, but you might as well start building your LinkedIn page now instead of postponing it. Start networking with classmates, professors, and potential future employers through LinkedIn to build your professional life. You could always join LinkedIn towards your senior year or when you leave college, but if you build it along the way it will be much more convenient down the road when someone asks for your page or if someone is looking for you.

2.Clean up your social media accounts

Social media isn't just sharing memes and having fun. Nowadays, social media accounts are seen as a reflection of the person behind them and that can be crucial for a future career. It seems unfortunate to have come to this point during the internet savvy era where your activity and "face" on a social media account could determine whether or not you have a career in certain fields. Fields that rely heavily on sharing and being active on social media require that you have some presence on social media, and those expectations are even filtering into research fields and authors. People want to know the person behind the product and the only way a company will hire you in some cases is if you are presented in a way that can be embraced and shared by the company. Moral of the story—keep your social media clean and professional or make a separate account for professional purposes.

3. Create an online portfolio that is updated frequently

There are a lot of free websites where you can design a simple portfolio such as Wordpress, Portfoliobox, or even Tumblr. As long as you make it look like a professional portfolio, it won't really matter what website it's on. All employers really care about is how the portfolio looks and how amazing the material in the portfolio is. Make the online portfolio easy to use and as minimalist a theme as possible, and you're all set.

4. Have "business" cards made

You don't really need this early on in your college career. They're just a really nice thing to have if you just happen to network with someone.

5. Work part-time with a company similar to your field of interest

Working part-time at a convenience store or retailer doesn't look terrible on your resume. It just doesn't have pizzazz or look like anything special if you are going into a science field, trying to get a job as a teacher, or applying for a job in publishing. It just looks like a way you made money during college and doesn't outline your skills aside from customer service. Instead of working a job that doesn't apply any of your skills, try to find a part-time job that applies some of your skills even if that means sacrificing some of your social life to get it done. You won't be getting paid $30/hour and you won't be doing anything you need a complete degree to do, but it will be a good jump-start for your future.

6. Dream board your visions

Motivate yourself to achieve career goals by creating a vision board of your dreams for the future. It might seem like a silly childhood project at first, but it could actually push you to keep working hard if it's constantly hanging on your wall as a reminder.

7. Participate in volunteer work

Every company loves a candidate that has dedicated their spare time for a good cause. Even if it doesn't automatically get you the job, it will at least get you through the door.

8. Have professional photos taken

This isn't as urgent or definitive as some of the other tips mentioned, but it is important for how people will perceive you. Having professional photos as opposed to a selfie will seem less personal, and companies aren't really looking for personal. It's true that some companies are becoming more transparent and want to see both professional and personal sides, but they want to see the professional side before anything else.

9. Build close relationships with professors or managers

Aside from learning about your field, college is also meant to train you in the act of networking. You can learn to network by building a professional relationship with your current manager or meeting with professors before class to discuss any struggles you're facing academically. Not only will building this out-of-class professional relationship with your professor teach you how to network appropriately, it will also give you information on things beyond the classroom. For example, I went to an author event with my professor and some of my classmates on a day when we didn't have class. Through that event we bonded and got to discuss in depth about the work. It wasn't only about learning to network, it was also about having great experiences which made me appreciate academia more. Building a professional relationship with your manager, even if you're just working at a department store or at a drive-thru window, can help you in the long run when you need a stellar reference or a boost.

10. Have work published online

Whether you're in a science major or you're majoring in history, you should start publishing your work online. Having published work, even in less obvious majors that don't have to do with the social sciences, will look amazing on your resume as long as it is accurate and fully supported. For an English major, it's way easier to publish something that's opinion based, but for less-abstract majors you should talk with your professors about publishing something online before you graduate. If you're in the social sciences, publishing is much more easier since many of the topics have more wiggle room. Start a blog, post to a website taking free submissions, and get writing.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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