Thinking about going to college?
Do you have a career in mind after your graduate?
When I get an opportunity to speak to young people about exploring a career in Marketing, I try to tell them to keep 5 things in mind.
I start off by saying the workplace today is very competitive. In fact, over half of our college graduates wait 12 months or more to enter the workplace after they have earned their degree. To be prepared to be part of the 50% that finds a job after graduation your students will need an edge. Here are five tips that may want to follow:
1. Work while you earn your degree. The marketplace is looking for individuals that can perform and deliver value immediately. Students need to build a portfolio of work experiences through internships, part-time/free-lance project work, or volunteering. In this way they will be able to include in their resumes and work applications, experiences that demonstrate they have the skills the workplace requires. (e.g., project management skills, crisis management skills, customer service skills, quality improvement skills, …)
2. Develop world language proficiency. Many graduates that are beating the odds are proficient in 2 languages besides English. Domestic and global corporations are targeting skilled workers that have world language proficiency for their ability to seamlessly work across cultures, and geographies. They also seek the skills of these individuals to build and grow their brands in domestic and international markets.
3. Give your heart to a cause. Find something you can give your time and talent to, something you are passionate about, something that pulls at your “heart-string.” Think of an organization that you feel you can support as a volunteer (e.g., American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society, The Community Food Bank of New Jersey, …)and work with them, sharing your time and talents. Demonstrate in this context that you have a broad world view, that you understand that you are somehow part of a larger picture. Include this experience in your resume and show potential employers that you understand the need to provide service to a community and that you are a “servant leader.”
4. Walk the campus of the college you plan to attend. When you select a college or university be sure to make time to visit the campus and walk the grounds before you make your final decision. You need to be able to say to yourself, “I can imagine myself here. There are other people like me here and I think I will fit in.” This is an important step and if you miss it you may find you are not happy at the institution you picked and spend extra time, money, and energy making this right.
5. Leverage the alumni association. Attend a college or university with an active alumni association. Attend alumni events as an undergrad and build relationships along the way. When it is your time to look for internships or full time positions after graduation, the alumni may be able to help. They are usually very happy to provide guidance and advice. They may be able to make introductions and provide you with valuable information that can support you as you prepare to apply to career opportunities. Remember that relationships are very important, especially as you transition from the academic world to the workplace. Use the relationships you built through your work, your volunteering, and your alumni association to get you to the position you desire.
CTE Partnership – Project Coordinator
Marketing Career Cluster
Middlesex County College
2600 Woodbridge Ave. P.O. Box 3050
Edison, NJ 08818-3050