Making Moves In College

On its face, going back to school just seems like continuing your education and pursuing your degree. It’s so much more than that! You’re gathering tools to give yourself the opportunity to have a professional leg up. Don’t overlook the other aspects of your college experience that are added value and will help you advance.

Cultivate your professional network

As a working adult student, you know the importance of having a professional network. Developing and maintaining peer relationships will help you to have allies within your chosen profession. We all know there will come a time when you’ll need them and they’ll need you.

It will never be easier to build professional relationships than while you’re enrolled in college. When you’re engaged in a stressful environment and working toward the same or similar goals, developing camaraderie is natural and it’s typically lasting.

Develop or clean up your online presence

This point shouldn’t surprise anyone. You might even be wondering why it’s brought up, but if you’ve spent any length of time in a human resources office you would know online behaviors still impact the workplace. If you’re one of the people who behaves poorly online, stop it. Seriously, knock it off.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you using social platforms to your advantage? Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Is it up-to-date? Are you connecting with your peers and actually using it? If no, then why not? Use this educational period to work on your online presence. Take advantage of the added value!

Did you know there’s more to the online professional presence than just LinkedIn? It’s true. Twitter can be leveraged professionally, too. In any industry, there are influencers and motivators, and many of them are on Twitter. Follow them, engage with them and their other followers just like you! Consider it research - what information or best practices can you glean from these individuals?

Just like any tool or technology, it’s all about utilizing it for good. The internet and social media are the same.

Take advantage of the school’s professional resources

No one has the perfect resume. No one has impeccable interviewing skills. These things are living tools. You wouldn’t abandon a garden once the flowers bloom. Don’t abandon these tools.

You should always be tweaking your resume, even if you’re happy with your career and place of employment. Anything can happen at any given moment in the workplace. You may need a current resume at your fingertips. If you’re not maintaining your own resume, your skills will become dull. Losing your edge is the biggest catastrophe.

If your professors offer to evaluate your resume, allow them to do so. If you can submit your resume to a career services center on campus, do it. The more eyes on your resume, the more polished it will become.

Interviewing is an interesting beast. It’s difficult to be self-aware and reflective enough to honestly evaluate how you’re presenting yourself and communicating in an interview setting. We’ve all heard that practice makes perfect. But there’s a caveat when it comes to this situation. In order to improve, you need forthright feedback.  But in our professional culture, hiring managers rarely provide any assessment to candidates. Do yourself a favor and participate in mock interviews. You may be surprised to find something about yourself you didn’t even recognize.

Don’t allow your time in school to pass by while simply checking the boxes. If you’re just turning in your assignments and taking tests, you’re missing out on so much. We want to prepare you in the best ways for your next steps in your career. We want your toolbox to overflow.

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