Believe it or not, four years in college will quickly pass by, and if you are not going to use your time efficiently, your college life will just be put to waste. Always remember to look into the bigger picture, as much as you are in the university to enjoy your youth, you are still there because it’s a stepping stone towards your dream job.
I graduated at the University of Santo Tomas, one of the prestigious schools in the Philippines, with a degree in English Language Studies (Applied Linguistics). Without any intention of bragging– I also graduated Cum Laude with a 1.6 GWA.
I graduated in a prestigious school and with flying colors– so it should be eAsY fOr mE tO gEt a j0b, rIgHt??? NO. NOPE. NEVER.
I may have landed into a job right now. But that ‘prestige and latin honor’ never helped me get a special lane or special treatment. In fact, I think, that even worsen the case because they tend to expect much from me. Yet, personally, I feel like I’m lacking in so many skills or outputs that I should have done because it’s expected from my program or because it’s for the industry that I’m hoping to get into. Is it complicated? VERY.
So here are the 5 things I wish I heard when I was a freshman– or something explicitly pointed out to me so I could have focused on it.
1. You should already know what you want to be when you graduate.
This is usually asked during the first day of freshmen year, but looking back, this question is always answered hastily because it seemed like the professor was just asking to check if “I want to be a teacher” because of my program.
But this is important. Take the question as seriously as possible. It’s not as simple as, “I want to be a TV anchor” or “I want to be an author”, it should be something big like laying down all the steps you’ll take to become a TV anchor or an author.
It should be crystal clear to you as to what you really want and how you’re going to achieve it.
2. Sign up for Kalibrr, LinkedIn Jobs, Jobstreet, Monster, etc.
As early as your Sophomore year it’s important that you already have accounts in these job hunting websites. Take these websites as your Facebook or Twitter, but this time you’re scrolling through a news feed of job opportunities, or you’re stalking CEOs and HR recruiters.
Through these platforms, you will be able to check the qualifications and requirements for the position and the company you would like to work with. Thus, you will be able to plan ahead, like take extra courses or learn the skills through Youtube, so that you can get the job for sure!
Bonus: You may also join those Facebook groups like this because they also post job opportunities.
3. Apply for internships and join lots of organizations
Usually internships happen every junior year or the summer vacation after it. But for my program, we weren’t required to. But if you would ask me, I would suggest that you apply for internships during sophomore year and be there during your sophomore year or on the summer vacation.
In this way, your recruiter will be impressed that you are proactive, and that might be a plus point for you. Besides, the summer vacation after junior year is usually the time you’ll look for your thesis topic. But didn’t you realize, that if you will have more experiences then you will have more ideas to consider for your thesis. Plus! It can also be a plus points, if you’ll make a research based on the company you’re interning for. That is definitely a win-win, and you’re gaining more chances of getting absorbed by the company.
Invest on your internships. You’re fortunate if you find companies who will give you allowances but REMEMBER it’s also okay if they won’t. We can’t do anything about it anymore. What you can do instead is to really take time to research for companies who give allowances or you may ask the recruiters.
After all, you are after the experience and their company name on your resume.
Also, you are encouraged to join organizations (univ-wide organizations or something that is known internationally) in the university which are aligned to the industry that you would like to apply for. Always remember that your time in college is constrained, so make sure you’re not wasting your time joining organizations that are “just fun” but won’t help you get into the job that you’ll have to do for the rest of your life.
4. Take advantage of the UST Career Fair
Every year, the UST Career and Counseling office holds a Career Fair wherein more than a hundred companies are invited to accept resumes from job aspirants and to also promote their companies.
So take this opportunity to submit your resumes because this is already, you know, spoon feeding. They already went to the university, you don’t need to get stuck in traffic just to go to their companies.
5. Have a wide range of network
Remember those aunts and uncles that you don’t like hanging out with because they’re too “old” but they have established companies or have stable position in big companies? Network to them.
It may not be comfortable for some people to ask for “help” from family friends or relatives to get in your first job, but personally, please consider this.
After all, it’s just the first job, and they will not hundred percent help you get in, they will just be part of the “references” on your resume so that it will be more appealing and they can talk about you positively.
Or if you don’t really like this idea, well, follow the other steps so you’ll have a bunch of experiences you won’t need any references because your portfolio is appealing enough.
At this point, you may be facing anxieties because you think that you are running/ran out of time to make things better. But, don’t be too scared to step into the real world, because that will not help you in any way and it will just build more hesitations.
Your first job doesn’t have to be the perfect one, it’s a process so you just have to carefully think about your decisions when taking steps on your career path. Also, you are not also forced to follow this timeline, we all have our own timelines based on our decisions.
This is just the reality and regrets rolled into one by someone who hoped she could turn back the time.
PS. Message me for any career talks, I did great on this right?? LOL 1/2 kidding