Congratulations, you have made it to college or perhaps recently graduated! It doesn’t matter if college was your idea or your parents you are in the swing of things. You might be a freshman that is wide eyed and in awe of the upper classmen who seem so wise & mature. You might be a senior in your final year and are starting to worry about whether or not you can afford the loans coming due. Or a recent college graduate eagerly waiting for the phone to ring with news you got an interview and your first post-college job!
College is a huge investment, not only in money but more importantly time. Regardless of how you got to college it’s important to maximize your investment. Maximizing your investment means that college is not the end but a means to an end.
College is not enough to help guarantee you the job that you want! Here are Seven Strategies that you can use to help maximize your college investment!
1 - The Top 10% Make The Money - parents and friends are always quick to give advice on what fields you should go into. The reality is that the top 10% of just about every field can make good money. If you have a forte in an area where you know you are in the top ranks why not go for it. Take some time to think about what you are good at doing versus what you like to do.
2 - Major In What You Are Good At – Picking a major as a freshman can be overwhelming. If you don’t pick something quickly you’ll feel the pressure that you might not graduate on time. If you jump into something you could be sorry later. If this is the case then pick a major in something you are good at, if you’re good you’ll have the confidence you need when the time comes to get a job. If you are unsure pick something that will give you a solid background that you can build off such as science, technology, biology, engineering as an example.
3- Minor in Business – I realize this is going out on a limb but business makes the world go round. Regardless of whether you are a going into education, science or theater if you are going to work in the world you will benefit from business classes. If you don’t get a minor consider taking enough classes so you understand the business basics.
4 - Graduate With a Skill – College is a great way to gain a lot of knowledge about the field of study, but a lot of what you learn is theoretical. Employers are going to find you more appealing if you have a skill or certifications. If you know you are going to need certifications get them during your summer vacations or breaks. You can find out what skills are required by doing internships or informational interviews.
5- Networking Is Key – Networking is an absolute must! Networking isn’t something you do once in your senior year it is something that you must do always. If you are not building your connections all throughout college you are missing out on one of the biggest benefits. You should be aware of services such as linkedin.com, twitter.com and other professional networking sites. Remember what you put on the Internet is public, be professional. In this day & age it’s about becoming relevant.
6 - It is Who You Know Not What You Know - It doesn’t matter if you are a Rhode Scholar, if you go head-to-head for a job with someone who has connections to the employer you stand a good chance of losing out on the job. The reason is that the adage “its who you know not what you know” is 100% correct. If you have a family friend who can get you a job in a field of interest, then do it. If you don’t have the family or friends then reach out and make the connections. Consider asking for an informational interview. Do this now! If you wait until graduation its too late!
7 - Create a Strategic Plan for Your Life – College has a lot of distractions that can keep you from focusing on your goals. It is easy to get involved in activities that the masses are doing but are not in your best interest. To overcome these undesirable activities develop a strategic plan that lays out your five and ten year goals. If you do not define your goals how will you even know if you reach them, also if you don’t define goals the activities you are focusing on might not get you to the desired state you are looking for!
College builds the foundation & will give you the confidence to move on into the work force. But College alone will not assure your success in the world. To give yourself the best chance for success you need to be looking at your life holistically, keep in mind the seven success strategies; The Top 10% Make The Money, Major in what you are good at, Minor in business, Graduate with a skill, Networking is key, It is Who you know not what you know, Create a strategic plan for your life.
Taking the time to plan your college life and life after college is going to take time and effort. But you already made the big decision to go to college, why not maximize the investment to help ensure your success.