In this episode, educational and career consultant Kat Clowes shares how to figure out what you want to be when you grow up and how to get there. Use those 4 years of college to your advantage and get that career of your dreams!
Getting the Right First Job
“When you graduate, if you are not planning, that first job is just whoever will hire me,” notes Clowes. This makes it difficult to change careers in the future.
Do not pick a major for a guaranteed career that might not be the right fit.
There are quite a few careers available out there to you.
Personal branding is defined by Clowes as, “Whatever people think of you, or your company, when you aren’t in the room… What people think of you professionally.” This can be positive or negative.
Your personal brand is very important. To find out what it is, Clowes recommends to:
- E-mail 10 family members and friends.
- Ask them for 2 positives and 2 negatives.
- Identify what they think of you and what you want for people to think of you.
- If someone notes that you are often late, is that something you want potential employers to think about you? How can you change that?
Majors can be very broad and employers will want to know, “What else have you done.”
“If we can get students more thinking ahead of who they want to be because once you graduate, everyone has the same piece of paper,” says Clowes. Employers aren’t necessarily hiring the smartest person in the room, they want people that will fit on their team and they can have conversations with.
“I think what is important is not to stress over the final title or major, but it’s more important to identify the skill sets that a student is strong in and what they are interested in,” states Clowes.
There is a lot of stress to choose a “label” of what students are going to be.
Clowes suggests for parents to, “Encourage your student to concentrate more on why they like the things that they like.”
This will plant a seed for students to start thinking about what it is they like about activities they do and why they avoid certain other ones. These traits can become their brand.
Tips for Families When Taking a Campus Tour
A tour is designed to market the school and will include some of the same things no matter where you visit, which won’t really help you to decide on the best choice.
Good questions that should be asked while visiting a college are about:
- Beyond the classroom.
- Ask about the Alumni Network.
- Career center.
- What companies do graduates go on to after graduation?
- Who recruits here?
- Find out if a company you are interested in recruits on that campus.
- In the classroom.
- Are undergraduates allowed to work in the labs?
- How close are students with their professors?
- Do you feel close with your professors in your major?
- Do you have a professional relationship with your professors?
- Could you visit them during office hours?
- Do you feel they have a lot of time for you?
“I would really like students and parents to focus on the different centers and opportunities the college offers beyond the academic,” stresses Clowes.
Use LinkedIn University and type in a university name to see what companies alumni work for and the industries they go to. Also research the professors and if they consult for an industry of interest. “That can help you rationalize if a school is worth an extra $2,000 or $3,000 a year,” adds Clowes.
LinkedIn is a great way to share your brand online and to connect with potential employers. See episode #25 for more information on LinkedIn.
See if the website domain of your name is available and get it. Build your own website and online portfolio for better networking. Put this on your business card.
LINKS AND RESOURCES:
- “Put College to Work” available online and at book stores.
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Brad is not affiliated with Kat Clowes.