Does preparing for your career seem like a daunting task? Don't worry! We're here to help you navigate what's looking to be a tight labor market following the economic consequences of COVID-19. Here's our best tips for college students looking to get ahead- without getting sick:
Focus on Cross Functional Skills
It's finally summer break, which means that you likely have exponentially more time on your hands. If, like many other students, you find yourself without an internship this summer, ask yourself what role you wish you had. Then, look at other roles that work closely with your desired role and try to learn the skills needed for those positions. For instance, content marketers often work closely with data scientists to better understand the effectiveness of their content. A student that wants to get into content marketing might want to learn about data analysis or even web-scraping. As another example, a designer might seek to learn front-end development. By learning cross functional skills, you become better suited to communicate within teams as well as work in versatile positions in which there is not a clear distinction between various functions. Remember: the more skills you can master (not just understand), the higher your market value! Here's some sites where you can find excellent courses:
Optimize Your Online Presence
With many companies' recruiting practices moving online for the near future, we recommend that you build your online brand. As a job seeker, you are selling yourself. When a recruiter googles your name, what will they find? You've almost certainly heard about removing negative content from your social media profiles--for instance, that halloween party where you might've had a bit too much fun-- but how can you add positive content? As a first step, make sure that you have a well-crafted LinkedIn profile that articulates your experience, skills, and interests. You can also build a portfolio website with your name as the URL. For instance, our Chief Technology Officer, Greg Davidson, built his own portfolio site: gregdavidson.me. It's actually how I found Greg, and it led us to ask him to join Outern as a Co-Founder! You can build a website without technical skills and a ton of money on these sites:
Flex Your Creative Muscles
A 2002 book from Steven Pressfield called the War of Art explores human creativity as well as how it benefits our daily lives. According to Pressfield, your creativity is like a muscle; if you stop using it, you'll lose it. You might think that your desired role does not require or utilize creativity, but this is almost never true. Whether it is designing a new work process or handling a complex workplace dynamic, you will frequently find use for creative thinking. We recommend that you practice a skill or hobby that forces you to think creatively. For instance, you could learn an instrument, write short stories, or build birdhouses. You do not have to be the next Mozart, Edgar Allen Poe, or DaVinci; as long as you are thinking creatively, you are making yourself a more valuable asset to any organization.
COVID-19 has brought serious change upon everyone, especially college students. One of my favorite mottos reflects upon the nature of looking at the horizon before beginning a long journey: "Go as far as you can see, and when you get there, you'll be able to see further." I am confident that, if you keep moving forward, today's uncertainty will pass and will instead be replaced by the excitement of tomorrow. As always, feel free to reach out to me directly at email@example.com for anything!