Your college years are meant to prepare you for the real world after education. “Book smarts” by themselves, though, aren’t enough to prepare you for reality. You need to acquire marketable job skills before you can get a job!
Many coveted careers require experience before they’ll hire you. For some people, this is a vicious cycle. You need a job to have work skills, but need work skills to get a job.
You don’t have to fall into that trap. There are many ways that you can build your job skills while you’re in college so your resume is full of impressive experience and knowledge.
Here are five of the best ways you can focus on your education and build marketable job skills at the same time.
1. Take a Cooperative Education Class
Many colleges and universities (and even some high schools) are acknowledging the serious problem of a work/school balance. They realize that many people want to receive more education but can’t afford to stop working to do so.
For some schools, the solution is to adopt a cooperative education approach. Through co-op programs, traditional classroom learning is combined with practical work experience.
In a co-op, students rotate paid professional experiences with coursework. Typically, they get one semester of paid work for every semester of coursework.
Take the opportunity to build some job skills before the “real world” kicks in. See if your college has a co-op program and what you need to do to take advantage of it.
2. Study Abroad
Wanderlust is a real thing. But unless you come from a monied family, most college students have to stick with local adventures.
That is, unless they get the unique opportunity to study abroad.
If you’re interested in exploring new cultures, gaining independence, and taking on new responsibilities, look into overseas education. Not all universities offer this, but if they do, the requirements will vary.
Good grades are a must. Your character and reputation are also important.
If you’re approved, your university will send you to a cooperating school overseas. While you are in your new environment, you’ll learn real-world skills while continuing to pursue your education.
You’ll be immersed in an atmosphere in which you must become independent. At the same time, you’ll develop a deep understanding of diversity. These soft skills are in demand in many top-level companies around the globe.
3. Get an Entry-Level Job
One easy way to build job skills is to simply get a job! Yes, balancing work with school is tough, but it also prepares you for your future.
After you graduate, you will have a life of your own and possibly a family to juggle. Learning how to multitask while you’re in college will benefit you in the long run. School gives you the time you need to make mistakes and use them as lessons to grow.
Depending on where your school is, you may find it easier than you thought to get a job without having any experience. Many university towns and cities offer positions that cater to college students.
Find a job that works around your schedule for your entry-level experience. There is no position too good for anyone who wants to learn. Every job will teach you life skills, whether it’s good or bad!
4. Sign Up for an Internship
Obtaining job skills in the field you plan on working in is a smart first step. Sometimes you can find these skills through internships.
Internships are common in bigger industries, like law and medical care. In your internship, you’ll get hands-on experience in your future field. It gives you exposure to the actual ins and outs of that industry.
Although most internships are unpaid, the benefits are priceless. The experience has a lot of advantages, like job skills that you’ll be able to put on your resume.
Most importantly, it gives you the time to see if that career is a good fit for you. On paper and in your mind, it may seem like the perfect choice for your future. But once you see the reality of the work involved, you may decide that it’s not for you.
This gives you the time to change your field of study before you walk away with a degree you’ll never use.
Your university can help you find an internship placement. When you do, let your supervisor know your class schedule and that you’re willing to work in exchange for on-the-job training.
Some internships are in big businesses. Others are with nonprofit organizations that rely on volunteers. All of these opportunities will build your life skill repertoire.
When you have the opportunity to volunteer, the mental benefits are enormous. You’ll notice a self-confidence boost comes along with your good deed.
Knowing that you’re doing something for others instead of yourself enhances your overall life satisfaction. It gives you an unselfish reason to be proud.
Moreso, it’s a great way to build job skills while you’re getting an education.
Volunteer work also looks good on your resume, especially if it relates to the jobs you’re applying for.
For instance, if you have to deal with people or answer phones while you’re volunteering, those are marketable job skills. Getting comfortable with these experiences now will prepare you to deal with them in your career.
Continuing your education into college is important as you establish the foundation of your future life. But it’s not the only thing you’ll need when you walk off the stage with your diploma.
To get a job after you graduate, you’ll need real-world skills on your resume. These five opportunities help you build skills to enhance your marketability and still keep up with coursework!
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