5 Ways to Kickstart Career Preparation

5 Ways to Kickstart Career Preparation

(Image: iStock.com/sturti)

It’s never too early for college students to start thinking about their career, says Susie Clarke, director of Undergraduate Career Services at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

“It’s important that students arrive on campus prepared since 70% of recruiting takes place in the fall semester,” says Clarke, who hosts career fairs and employer info sessions at Kelley as early as the second week of September.

Clarke and her staff prepare students with the skills they’ll need to find the right career, including coaching, résumé assessment, and mock interviews.

“As cliché as it sounds, the early bird does get the worm, and that applies to internships, interviews, and potential job offers. While we do recommend that students get as early a start as possible, our advice can be applied at any point in their college career,” says Clarke, a Kelley graduate herself and a former human resources director at a Fortune 500 company.

Here are Clarke’s five tips on how students can kickstart their career prep the first semester:

  • Who am I and what do I want to do? The earlier students discover their passion and what a fulfilling career means to them, the easier it is to develop a plan to achieve their goals. At the Kelley School, students start this journey in Kelley Compass, a “talent management system” that entails three years of experiences suited to the developmental needs of undergraduates.
  • Prep the promo materials. Waiting until junior or senior year to tailor a résumé to positions of interest is a recurring mistake students make–one that could leave them behind the curve.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Career preparation takes work. As with tailoring your résumé, don’t wait until you have an interview to prepare for one.
  • Boost your network. “Networking is a skill that will benefit anyone for the rest of their lives,” says Clarke. “Most of us don’t like to do it, but it’s essential for long-term success.” At Kelley, students have multiple opportunities to network at on-campus and virtual career fairs.
  • Go beyond your comfort zone. College is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that provides the chance to learn from different individuals, and more students need to take advantage. “It’s critical to do more than go to class. Because today’s business world is so diverse, companies are seeking out well-rounded candidates who can work with peers from varying backgrounds as a cohesive team.”

This post was written by Susie Clarke and provided by the Indiana University Kelley School of Business’s Office of Undergraduate Career Services.