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5 Ways to Prepare for Success During Your Senior Year Of College

5 Ways to Prepare for Success During Your Senior Year Of College

I may have jumped the gun by agreeing to write this article considering my final fall semester of college started three weeks ago. However, after working in the career center of my school for quite some time now and seeing senior after senior come in with the same “Help me, I’m graduating” look on their face, I think I can offer a couple sure-fire tips for success to graduating seniors. After all, I am one now (cue the world’s smallest violin).

Here are five ways you can set yourself up for a bright future during your senior year of college:

 1. Raid your nearest career center

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    I’m not kidding when I say this: if you haven’t gone to the career center at your school, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Not only are career counselors some of the most helpful people on this planet, but career centers provide students with a multitude of FREE (that’s right, I said free) services you can’t afford to pass up. Literally, you can’t afford it. Once you’re out of school, services like that are going to cost a pretty penny (a.k.a. NOT FREE). So go to your university’s career center, set up an appointment with a career counselor, and let them help you figure out your plans before and following graduation. I guarantee a weight off your shoulders is going to lift once you do.

    2. Spice up your resume

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      In the words of Mary Poppins, “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Think about it. If you were an employer looking through stacks upon stacks of resumes all printed in size 12 Times New Roman black font, you’d jump at the first sign of a visually-appealing paper too. That doesn’t mean go all arts-and-crafts-crazy on your resume and throw glitter all over it. It means make yourself stand out among the rest of the carbon copies by designing your resume in a way that’s not only tailored to a potential employer, but also tailored to show your personality. After all, an employer isn’t just looking for someone to fill a job. They’re looking for someone they want to work with. Check out Pinterest resume templates for ideas.

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      3. Internships!!!

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        You may be asking yourself, “Why did she put three exclamation marks following internships?” There’s a very good reason why, aside from the fact I’m on a sugar-high right now, and it’s because internships are the foundation for any career. Most, if not all, successful people started from the bottom and worked their way to the top. The best way to set yourself up for success is to start pursuing an internship in the career field you’re interested in. Once you graduate, the working world becomes a race to the employment finish line. With a couple internships under your belt, you’ve already got a head start.

        4. Talk to your superiors

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          Professors, internship supervisors, former bosses, current bosses–talk to them all. At one point in their lives, they were in the same boat as you. They get it. Trust me. Ask them about their experiences, what steps they suggest you take to land the career you want, how they became successful, and most importantly, NETWORK WITH THEM. Chances are they know some guy who knows some guy who has a cousin in the industry you’re dying to work in. If you play your cards right, you could end up working alongside that cousin following graduation. Just make sure to send a lengthy thank you card to the person responsible for that connection.

           5. Remain calm

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            With every other senior running around like a chicken with their head cut off, it’s hard to follow this motto. Believe me, I know. It’s like asking a dog to stop barking, but I firmly believe this final tip to be the most crucial in guaranteeing success.

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            Take a moment and visualize a successful person in your head. It could be your boss, a celebrity, a CEO of a major company, or generally someone you wish to emulate. Now, in your mind, can you imagine them losing their cool over feeling uncertain of their future? The answer should be no; and if it’s yes, then I think you need to re-evaluate your idea of a successful person because successful people don’t freak out (at least not publicly). They embody the three C’s–calm, cool, and collected. They’ve mastered the art of appearing and acting as though nothing fazes them; and for some, nothing really does. After all, success doesn’t mean having loads of money. It means self-discipline and seeing the results of your hard work.

            The best way you can be successful is by being secure in all that you’ve done and all you’re doing. People are said to be their own worst critics, but don’t let that be the case for you. Feel confident in the fact that you’re close to completing an opportunity that a lot of people weren’t as fortunate as you to have.

            So remain calm, carry on, and follow these steps towards setting yourself up for success this year. I promise you everything is going to turn out fine.

            Featured photo credit: Success Starts Here Freeway Style Desert Landscape/FlashBuddy via morguefile.com

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            Last Updated on January 13, 2020

            Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

            Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

            Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

            Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

            Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

            Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

            How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

            The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

            You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

            Physical Signs

            Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

            It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

            In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

            Mental Signs

            One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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            I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

            Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

            • The tension in your neck
            • Difficulties with sleeping
            • Unable to concentrate
            • High anxiety
            • Depression

            If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

            Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

            Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

            The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

            Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

            Desire for an Increase of Salary

            The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

            At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

            Overnight Decision

            Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

            Rejected for a Promotion

            I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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            Bored at Work

            Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

            A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

            • How long have you worked in your career?
            • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
            • Do you receive recognition?
            • Can you consider working in a new department?

            If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

            How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

            I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

            One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

            It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

            A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

            You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

            • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
            • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
            • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

            How to Make a Career Change Successfully

            The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

            1. Write a Career Plan

            A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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            You can learn how to set your career plan here.

            2. Weigh Your Options

            If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

            You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

            3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

            It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

            A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

            • Economic factors
            • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
            • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
            • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
            • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

              A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

              4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

              A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

              • What is required to be successful in the role?
              • What certification or educational development is needed?
              • What are the challenges of the role?
              • Is there potential for career advancement?

              A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

              Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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              5. Research Salary

              Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

              It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

              6. Be Realistic

              If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

              For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

              Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

              7. Volunteer First

              A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

              Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

              Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

              8. Prepare Your Career Tools

              I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

              • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
              • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
              • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
              • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

              Bottom Line

              It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

              Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

              More About Career Change

              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

              Reference

              [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
              [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
              [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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