- Network, Network, and Network!
This is the time of your life where you should be building meaningful relationships with other professionals. Whether you are meeting people within the same industry or branching out to build your network, make sure your encounters are genuine! There are so many networking events, volunteer opportunities and organizations that you can join to get more involved. Believe it or not, there are so many events you can attend for FREE!
- Take advantage of that opportunity
You know, that opportunity that kind of scares you but would be a great opportunity to build on the skills you are looking to develop. Whether it is a new job, a leadership position or simply stepping outside of your comfort zone, Just do it!
- Do a personal SWOT Analysis
You should start knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are at this point. What are you good at? What areas do you need to improve on? For this tip, ask yourself, What can I be doing today to improve myself tomorrow?
- Align your personal and professional goals
Start figuring out what you want out of life and how should you go about accomplishing these awesome goals! Actually write your goals down. So many people have all of these great ideas but never work on them. Writing your goals down and seeing them everyday improves your chances of actually meeting them. Create a vision board if that works best for you (I love vision boards!) When developing your goals, break them down into short term and long term goals. Then break them down even further and list the steps you need to complete to meet the goal AND assign a date to each step.
- Stay focused and remain disciplined
It can become so easy to lose sight of your dream job or end goal once you start working your first job. Do not get comfortable or complacent just yet! You still have so much to do in life!
- Get involved
Take advantage of any professional development opportunities that are available. Join a professional organization to stay in the loop with your industry and find a mentor to keep you on track! Volunteer for leadership positions or at events that interest you. You never know who you will meet!
- Have integrity
You are building your brand and your reputation at this point. The decisions you make today will affect you tomorrow. Make sure you are being honest, have strong morals and follow them. There are so many scandals and people demonstrating poor morals in the media, make sure you are not one of them.
- Stand up for yourself
This can be tricky. Do not get fired from your first job because you do not like the way your boss asked you to complete a task. What you do want to do is make sure you remain professional at all times. You want to make sure your coworkers and supervisors know they can depend on you but that you cannot be a scapegoat or allow them to talk down to you just because you are young or new to the company. Always, always, always remain professional.
- Let people know what you want
The saying, “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed” is so true! If people do not know what you want to do, how are they supposed to help you? Actually let people know that you are actively looking for an internship or employment. Let them know what type of job you want, where you would like to work and/or what you are doing to try and get there. When you let people know what you want to do, they can do one of three things. 1. Nothing. 2. Refer you to someone else. 3. Refer you to a company/job. Most people will do number 2 but will also keep you in mind if they can do number 3. Hopefully they do NOT do number 1 but that is a possibility.
- Start building your brand today
Last but not least, start building your brand TODAY! Do not put it off until tomorrow, but work on it today. You’re young, ready to start your career and take over the world, right? Well, maybe not take over the world, but definitely ready to make the steps towards having a great career and loving life. When building your brand, you want to ask yourself, “how do I want people to remember me?” Knowing yourself, your strengths and weaknesses and where you want to go in life, will all help you to start branding yourself.
Best of luck! If you can think of any other tips, feel free to comment and share.