Plan ahead for a successful career

The time you spend in university is crucial. Your choices can define how your future turns out.It’s common to get caught up with assignments, and schoolwork during your time at university and before you know it, it all comes to an end. So how do you prepare for the next steps? Try these highly recommended ways to build a foundation for your career while still at university:

Network, network, and network

This is the golden rule of making contacts. You will soon learn that networking is an essential practice, not only in college but also when you are working. You could say networking is something like making friends when you first start university but, of course, in a more professional setting. It is important to make more and more contacts and also maintain them as you grow older. Knowing the right people at the right time can make a lot of difference in building a successful career.

Take up graduate training programs

Universities generally offer training programs that you can enroll in voluntarily like vocational skill training, art lessons, digital marketing and other in-trend subjects. Keep a close eye on what kind of programs are available and sign up for ones that are aligned with your career goals. You could even experiment with some to help you find something of interest.

Be a part of student exchange opportunities

Don’t miss out on opportunities to visit and study in other countries. Student exchange programs can be illuminating cross-cultural experiences that are, in some cases, funded by your university. Grab the chance to learn about more cultures and meet more people across the world.

Regularly visit your career center

Universities generally have career centers that offer counseling and guidance to students with regard to their careers. You can meet up with professional career guidance counselors and have an in-depth discussion about the steps you need to take to achieve your dream career. This is a great resource that usually gets overlooked, so make sure to pay your career center a visit and get the help you need.

Practice your soft skills

Soft skills are core skills that are valued in all professions. These generally include critical thinking, problem-solving, public speaking, professional writing, teamwork, digital literacy, leadership, professional attitude, work ethic and career management among others. Next time you have a group project or get an opportunity to work with others, practice these skills and polish them to perfection.

Extracurricular activities

As Asians, it has been ingrained in us to prioritize studies over everything else. It’s time to change that and have a healthy balance of academia and extracurricular activities. Take up a hobby or join a university club and be a part of something other than reassessing your study plan. Employers want to see that you can have fun when you need to, and most extracurriculars help you develop essential social and cerebral skills that can come in handy when you start working. Moreover, extracurriculars are a great way to relieve all that stress built up from back-to-back assignments.

Make the most of internships

Internships are great practice for the real world, and you need to treat them the same as a real job. The reviews and recommendations you receive from your internships could be the difference between you bagging your dream job and losing it. Remember to stay positive and perform your duties with professionalism. If you do a stellar job, the internship could even extend into a permanent role one day.

Seek mentors

Education does not stop when you step out of your classrooms. You are always surrounded by inspiring people in a university. Try to engage in conversation with your professors, friends, seniors, juniors and staff. They may be able to guide you in your journey, and you will undoubtedly pick up a few things that could aid you in the future.

Always keep a lookout for ways to broaden your university experience. Make sure you take up these practices as they can turn you into a driven, skilled individual who is ready for the professional world. As you take these opportunities up, more recommendations will follow through the same channels. It’s easy to slack off and do the bare minimum to graduate, but if you are willing to consciously plan and participate more, your future will be a lot brighter.

To explore your career options after studying abroad, start a co-design conversation with Gradstar. Or, if you have a topic you would like to know more about, email us a blog suggestion, and we will find an expert to write about it.

Date Published: Apr-14-2022

Our Dream Makers are expert listeners, educators, career consultants and student supporters. They co-design your study abroad experience with you to empower you to reach for the stars. Because dreams deserve a helping hand.

About the author

Anupama Kumar is a content writer based in Bangalore, India. She writes blogs, stories, articles and social media content and has a passion for helping people and connecting with them through her writing. A professional writer by day and a creative one by night, her own stories, musings, quotes and poems inspired by her travels are also published on various platforms.