College can be fun but, after spending four or six years in college, most people are unprepared for the reality of life after college.
One of the major things you have to deal with after graduating from college is getting a job. While it isn't always easy, there are ways you can prepare and significantly increase your job prospects while still in college. Below are four survival tips for you.
1. Start Gaining Experience in College
Many people fresh out of college have to deal with the job/experience conundrum: you need the experience to get a job, but you can't get experience without a job. So what should you do?
You can actually build up experience while still in college. You can take advantage of internship opportunities (more on that below), take on part-time jobs while still in college, make effective use of the opportunity to partake in undergraduate research, take on volunteer jobs if available, and join student organizations if you can.
Every opportunity to gain experience counts and shouldn't be taken for granted.
2. Don't Take The Opportunity to Intern For Granted
Pretty much every college student has the opportunity to intern. Very few take advantage of this opportunity, however.
Partying and going out might seem more attractive while in college, but it doesn't take long for reality to dawn on you after graduating — particular with the huge debt you now have to pay.
One of the greatest opportunities you have while in college is the ability to intern, and you should take advantage of it — even if it is interning for a startup.
The advantages of interning are numerous. Besides being able to translate the theory you're learning in the classroom to the real world, you get to interact with others and operate in a real-world work environment with the ability to make mistakes without having to worry too much about the consequences. The lessons you learn will stick with you and give you an edge when you finally graduate college and start working.
There is also the fact that an internship helps you build a network that can prove invaluable when you graduate and enter the job market. More importantly, your internship could translate into a full-time job opportunity.
3. Prepare for the Freelance/Gig Economy
Work as we know it is changing. While still in college, it is important to prepare for the gig economy.
According to a McKinsey study, 162 million people in the US and Europe, or up to 30 percent of the working-age population, are part of the gig economy. While this rise in gig workers is impressive, it isn't as impressive as what is to come: the gig economy is expected to double in terms of transaction value in the coming five years.
There's one problem, though: universities and institutions of higher learning continue to prepare students to be full-time employees and have not yet integrated the study or practice of the gig economy into their curriculum or career services.
The good news about the gig economy is that you don't have to be certified to partake in it. Thanks to platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Airbnb, and lots more, you can be a freelancer or gig worker while in college. You can do jobs as a freelance writer, take advantage of freelance programming opportunities, create a drop-shipping business, and partake in the gig economy in other ways while still in college.
4. Take Advantage of Professional Opportunities to Network
If you get out of college and don't want to remain jobless for so long, you must realize a key fact: networking is the rule of the game.
As a student fresh out of college, the importance of networking can never be overstated. In fact, according to a particular study, a whopping 85 percent of jobs are unadvertised. Instead, these jobs were gotten through networking.
So, even while in college, don't sniff at opportunities to network that align with your professional goals even if there doesn't seem to be much in it for you. Go out and attend those conferences, go to those events, and take advantage of every opportunity to network to gradually build your database of contacts. Once you're out of college, let your contacts know you're now in the job market.