Let the music play but get your career on!

The number one goal for every student going to college is to establish a career path that will support your life’s ambition. When I was a student-athlete, I subconsciously thought there would be a job waiting for me after graduation. I graduated from college on time, finishing in four years but failed to adequately prepare for a career position in business like I could have. I should have took more initiative to make sure an entry level, high paying career job was there for me to step into. I did everything else while in college except for what was most important coming out of college.

In my memoir, EVIDENCE UNSEEN: Finding the Faith to Overcome, I share my somewhat depressing and embarrassing story of having to find a job to pay bills rather than finding a job and starting a career. The best way to establish a career out of college is to leverage the resources that are there. I quickly understood what had to be done. However, so much could have been done while I was taking classes in college.

Four basic thoughts:

One: every college student should look at the Occupational Outlook Handbook that is online sponsored by the Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics. A detailed review of the statics and trends will give you picture of the highest paying, fastest growing and newest jobs for a student to begin their careers. This information alone might cause a student to revise their major to ensure that the student’s first job out of college is right job to start their career.

Two: the “career center” on campus should be visited frequently to first know what companies are partnering with your institution for specific recruiting objectives. You want to know what they are looking for in grades and experience in order to shape your college activities to put you in the best position to secure a career entry level position. For many majors, internships are helpful; however, a successful internship could be the pathway for your first career job. If you are a in your last two years of college, interviewing on campus is good preparation for future interviews. Job shadowing or site visits are also good. For certain industries, virtual interactions for potential career opportunities is something a student should be ready to accommodate.

Three: keep your character and background clean. Frankly speaking, you are not going to get the career positions if you are in a lot of bad debt… a bad credit report shows you are not financially responsible. It will not happen if you have too many speeding tickets or you have been arrested. If your social media is questionable, “what you put in a post might make you toast” in a final selection process. For some careers, drug testing is required, so clean your system before you seriously interview. Many good jobs require a background check for a security clearance. This is why I say in my new book EVIDENCE UNSEEN: “do not let your fun, folly, foolishness, forgetfulness or fantasy become your failure!”

Four: finding new introductions and building relationships in a career field of interest that matches your major is a very effective strategy to use while you are in college. Attend trade conventions for this purpose. Provisions for students are usually accommodated so the student can attend. Your Alumni should be a source that you need to tap into by visiting their place of business. Take note of the “A” students in your major and keep in-touch. These students will be highly recruited and could quickly be in a hiring position that could help you get into a company that wants your skills and talents. The Vice President of my college remembered my competitiveness on the basketball court and gave me an opportunity with the start-up company for cellular telephones and my roommate in college recommended me for a career job with a Fortune 50 Medical Company. These stories and more are in my new memoir EVIDENCE UNSEEN.

Enjoy the college life in every way possible but remember your main goal is to secure a career entry level position or even better, to start a new business of your own or with your classmates. Do not be hindered by the concern of repaying student loans. Be inspired to graduate as soon as possible to start your career. Yes, you will work hard for a few years after graduation to get established but over time with the right planning everything will work itself out. Keep the faith!

Frankly Speaking