Your professional career might seem miles away when you start college as a first-year student, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking about your career plans. Don’t worry; you don’t have to have it all figured out right away, but you can start building skills and gaining connections. Here are seven career preparation tips for business majors (and all majors!) to keep in mind as you begin college.
#1. Build your network
This is the most important step. You’ll probably rely on a career services center to find your first job, but every job you find for the rest of your life will involve your network somehow. Building your network starts during your first week of orientation and it never ends. Reach out to other students, faculty and professionals and be curious! Ask questions. Offer to help. Networking is a two way street. The College of Business hosts multiple networking events throughout the semester. Go to them! Additionally, use LinkedIn for digital networking when in person isn’t possible.
When you interview, companies want to see experience. They also want to engage with people that are caring and passionate. You can show both skills by volunteering. When you volunteer, try to show consistency. Don’t show up one time. Volunteering regularly can help you develop an assortment of different skills and may even allow you to serve on the board of directors for the nonprofit.
#3. Get an internship or part-time job
This is critical for every student. It can be on campus or off campus. In fact, it can be doing almost anything. The goal is to build skills that are relevant to professional jobs you may be interested in. Every job is an internship. Don’t worry too much about getting credit for it. The two most important aspects are gaining skills and getting paid! Jobs can be found at the College of Business Career Fair held in October and February and on Nevada Careers, the College of Business job board.
#4. Join a student club
There are great student clubs affiliated with the College of Business like the Business Student Council, Delta Sigma Pi, Black Business Student Association and the American Marketing Association. Join one of these clubs and actively participate. If you seek a leadership position, you’ll develop leadership skills that are transferable to paying jobs. You’ll also help the College of Business be a more vibrant place for students to engage.
#5. Participate in a global program
The world demands global cultural literacy. Almost every company has a global aspect to it, whether it’s a global operation or leveraging the global supply chain. Participating in the Nevada Global Business program will help develop those skills in week-long, experiential based trips. All of our programs are 3-credit classes and count toward degree progress. If you are looking for something semester-based, there are great options for studying abroad outside the College, but make sure the credits count toward degree progress.
#6. Start a business
Everyone needs a side gig. From the MBA grad with an auto detailing business to the bookkeeper who helps with taxes, side gigs can help you pay the bills or pay for a vacation. Starting a business shows an entrepreneurial spirit, initiative and self reliance to those that may interview you. It also shows you know how to navigate the complex waters of government paperwork! The Nevada Small Business Development Center in the College of Business can help.
#7. Own your career development
How you choose to engage, how you decide to develop skills and how you exercise your passions are up to you. It takes time. It’s much harder to be successful when you wait until graduation to begin. Start in your first year. Attend career preparation events. Talk to employers, even ones that may not seem to be in occupations you are interested in. Your college years are all about learning—take advantage of it. Nobody else can do this for you. Let us know how we can help.