Career Planning? 10 Brilliant Life Hacks for Students Planning Their Future

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Sep 18, 2018

Sep 18, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Are you a college student who feels they have no idea what they're doing? If so, don't panic. You're in the majority.

Approximately 75 percent of college students will change their major at least once during their academic career.

Even among those students who do know what kind of career they want to pursue, many of them aren't sure how to go about actually finding a job in their chosen field.

No matter which group you fall into, these 10 great life hacks for students will help you simplify the process of planning for your career.

1. Assess Yourself

If you're feeling totally lost when it comes to choosing a post-college career, take some time to evaluate yourself and figure out your specific skills, interests, and values.

There are lots of free assessment tools available online. Your college likely offers some as well.

Utilize a variety of these tools to get a sense of which careers might potentially be a good fit for you.

The results aren't the end-all-be-all, of course. But, they can help you narrow down your options and figure out which careers you should take a closer look at.

2. Do Some Career Exploration

Don't rely solely on online description when trying to decide what you want to do after college.

You can't truly know what to expect from a specific career until you see what it's like in person.

Look for opportunities to see what a typical day in the life is like for someone working in the field you're interested in pursuing. This could be an internship or simply spending a day job shadowing. You can also conduct interviews with professionals who work in your desired field.

Whichever approach you take, use the information to help you decide whether or not the day-to-day aspects of a specific career actually appeal to you.

3. Network

Many college students make the mistake of not thinking about networking until after they graduate. They often do this because they assume they have plenty of time to make connections.

In reality, though, the sooner you can start networking, the better.

Reach out to people who work in the field in which you're interested. If you don't know anyone working in the field, talk to a career counselor at your college and see if they can put you in touch with someone.

It's also helpful to look into joining student professional organizations. These organization usually are free or have a low-cost membership for students.

4. Research New and Growing Fields

The professional world is constantly growing and evolving, and businesses are creating new positions all the time.

Research businesses that you think you might want to work for and take a look at the different positions they offer. Keep an eye out for unique job titles or departments that seem like they might be a good fit for you.

This type of research can help you broaden your horizons and find new opportunities beyond what you originally thought was available to you.

5. Create the Right Online Persona

These days, your online persona is everything. It's almost a guarantee that your future employer will be looking at your social media profiles and online presence.

Do yourself a favor now and clean up your profiles so they reflect the type of employee you will be. Get rid of embarrassing pictures or controversial posts -- anything that could turn you off to a future employer.

6. Look into Small Businesses

Of course, it would be great if you could go straight from college to a major business like Apple. And, we're not saying that can't happen.

But, it's also important to consider reaching out to small, local businesses that offer similar jobs to the ones you'd be doing at these big companies.

It's often easier to get hired at a small business, and you're more likely to get more detailed, hands-on training there. The salary and benefits might be more comprehensive, too.

7. Dress for Success

Like or it or not, potential employers, recruiters, and others you'll meet at networking events will judge you based on your appearance. That's why it's never too early to start curating your professional wardrobe.

Don't have a ton of money to spend on business-friendly clothing? Look for stores that offer student discounts. You can also find lots of online coupon codes and deals to help you get great clothes without breaking the bank.

8. Get a Side Hustle

A side hustle is a great way for you to make extra money and reduce your debt while you're in school. It can also help you figure out what kind of career you want to pursue when school is over.

Side hustles allow you to develop new skills and get a foot in the door with different businesses. They can also boost your confidence and start using the skills you're learning in school before you graduate.

9. Master Written Communication

No matter what type of career you plan to pursue, good written communication skills are a plus.

Even if you think that writing well has nothing to do with your chosen career, remember that everyone should be able to write a clear, grammatically correct email or memo.

If you haven't already, sign up for a writing class. You can also look for professional writing workshops that will help you learn how to write a great resume or cover letter. Many universities offer these workshops for free.

10. Regularly Reassess

Finally, remember that you can always reassess your situation. Even if you've spent a couple of years pursuing one career, you're allowed to change your mind if you find that it no longer fits your goals and values.

It can be hard to change course and start pursuing a new goal.

But, think about it this way. You're going to be working in this field for quite a while. You're allowed to make sure you like it.

Looking for More Life Hacks for Students?

If you're a college student, these ten life hacks for students can help you figure out the right career for you. They'll also help you get on track so you can actually achieve your goals.

Want to learn more about how to prepare for your future career?

Be sure to check out our blog today. We've got a wide range of tips and tricks available for both students and professionals.