How to Launch Your Career in College

HuangJamesChoosing a career is one of the most important decisions a person will make. As a student with so many options, deciding which career path is right for you can be difficult. Thankfully, many universities have resources available to students who are undecided. I sat down with James Haung, a career adviser at the New York Institute of Technology, to ask for his advice and discuss how students should approach the job hunt.

What are some criteria graduating students should look for in a job?

Graduates should find a job that gets their foot in the door. We are often too hung up on salary but experience is truly more important. Take an opportunity that will help you progress in your career path. This doesn’t mean selling yourself short but consider taking an internship or a lower paying position with the mindset that this can lead you somewhere better. A few dollars won’t matter that much in the long run.

Students should also find a niche or specialty because it’s what will make them stand out. It’s better to be a master of one thing than a jack of all trades.

How can students find a job that fits them?

It’s a process and a lot of trial and error. Be honest to yourself. Do you like what you’re studying? Have you sought out opportunities in your field such as internships, jobs or volunteering? Finding a right fit takes time so start early. It also involves doing research. If salary is important to you, then look up what the earning potential is in your field. If you’re looking for a steady and slow-paced environment, do some research on the companies you’re applying to. If promotion and advancement are important to you, find out if your position offers that kind of mobility.

What resources are available for college students looking for jobs?

Attend the on-campus recruitment and job fairs offered at your school. Take advantage of alumni networks and mentoring programs; alumni have been in your position and can be a good resource in pointing you in the right direction. Did you join a professional organization? Check out their job boards, too.

What tips do you have for students to improve their interview skills?

Interviewing takes practice. There’s a level of performance involved and the more one practices, the more confident he/she will appear. This will lend to a good performance.

The content of the interview matters, too. Search for some of the most frequently asked interview questions and have answers ready for them. In your answers, have specific examples ready.

Also, stop by career services to schedule a mock interview. Many universities offer resources for students to prepare for interview.

What are some things college students should be doing during school to get a job or an internship after graduation?

Students should be proactive and look for opportunities to supplement their academics. This includes being involved on campus and volunteering — especially for international students who might not be able to intern.

Students should also visit their career services offices early and often because there’s always something to work on — no matter what year you’re in.

Medgeen “Medge” Ross is a graduate student at the New York Institute of Technology. She currently serves on the PRSA-NY Chapter membership committee as a visual content developer. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.



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