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What’s the best way to get started with your career field after college?

I am going into my first year of college and am worried that I might not find a job related to my career afterwards. #college #career-choice

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Aaron’s Answer

1. Grow your network...now! It's always better to have a relationship with someone well before you ask for something from them. Get to know people in the field, explain that you're new to the field and would like to learn from their experience, then ask lots of questions including questions about how they started their careers, etc. LinkedIn is a great platform for this. After you message back-and-forth a few times, see if they would be willing to have a 20min Zoom call.

2. Find internships, field-related volunteering opportunities, and/or a part-time job in that field. This can open up huge doors directly (you may work for a company that you intern with) or indirectly (you may volunteer with someone who knows someone who ends up hiring you). Be as generous as you can with your time and abilities.

3. Start applying to (and networking for) positions 1.5 semesters before you graduate. Be open to opportunities that look different than you expected but stay true to your long-term goals. Consider rotational training programs with companies if available so you get many experiences at a company.

4. Be resilient. In every step above, be prepared for many closed doors/rejections before you get a positive response. Don't be surprised if the job you take is different than you thought it would be--this is normal. Continue steps 1,2 above even after you find a job, and you'll stay flexible and always have new opportunities.

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Marina’s Answer

Recent college grad here. While at school, I majored in finance. I am not technically working in finance right now, by choice. The reason is because I found something else I was more passionate about that took elements from my degree, my minors, and other experiences. When you start college, its very difficult to know exactly what you want to do. However, there's always a reward after graduation for those who work for it.

The best advice I can give is to cast a wide net in most everything you do when it comes to career development. Go to career fairs, go to company information nights, join professional clubs and attend the events that interest you, form a relationship with a career advisor through your school's career center, and when applying for internships or full time jobs, apply to as many as you can that you think you might accept. Casting a wide net will allow you to have options and pursue a variety of your interests within a certain field, or between fields. It will also allow you to grow your professional network. I still have contacts from roles I did not accept or from conversations that didn't result in a full time offer that may come in handy later. I also have a champion in my career advisor, who I still am in touch with even post-grad.

Learn recruitment cycles for industries you are interested in and make sure you are applying during the appropriate window. For example, investment banks begin recruiting for junior year internships in the spring and summer of the sophomore year, with offers sent out in the fall. Be aware of these timelines so you can make the best decisions possible about when to apply and who to apply to.
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Chris’s Answer

I agree with Michael. I have a masters in English and I work as a product manager for a tech company. Find an internship if you can, it's a great way to get exposure and make connections. Spend some time investigating the best format for your resume and what skills you should showcase. Tailor your cover letter for each specific job and don't be shy to show who you are as a person. Brush up you LinkedIn profile, this should be an extension of your resume.
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Jan’s Answer

The best way to get started with your career field after college is to start now! Look for a mentor within your field of study to guide you. Start making connections with others in your field. Start looking for internships/coops during the summer or even part-time during the school year. That way you can start to find out what it is you would like to do. There are also corporations that have leadership/management programs for college students or those that have just graduated. If there is a particular company that your interested in working for, check to see if they have any of those programs for which you could apply.
And like Michael said, start applying early and work on your interview skills. Even if you don't get the first job after an interview, look at it as practice for how you can approve and just keep working at it.
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