Tuesday, January 29, 2013

College to Career

A results of a report, The Student Career Development Study, by Millennial Branding was published recently, admonishing students to be focused on careers while taking courses at a college or university.  The article mentions internships, social media such as Linked In, personal branding through business cards or professional blogging and finding mentors through on line networking groups.

Photo Credit : Brian Synder/Reuters
A response written by Gene Marks for Forbes , challenges the notion that most business owners are on Linked In and reading blogs.  He proposes rather that students prepare for careers by doing well in their studies, including showing up to class.  Some schools are beginning to show attendance records on transcripts, according to the author, thus 'lifting the curtain' on students who test well but aren't reliable.  In addition, he admonishes students to be students and experience life at this stage.

These two articles present to me a question of focus.  When you are in school, where should your attention be directed?  The Forbes author makes a solid point by stressing the importance of doing your best and being diligent.  He even states that the student he hires needs to be "a smart enough person to learn the job."  My take home from this is, show up, work hard, do your best, seek help to do better, and while you're at it, take time to enjoy the experience.

The study by Millennial Branding has value as well by advocating that students think forward to their career.  My blend of this advise with the Forbes article would sound like this--take advantage of all the resources that you have on campus including your professors, network in person and on line, seek out connections that will help you grow and mature as a professional, be proactive about your life, think 21st Century.

For the student in the STEM fields this means find a way to experience science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  Maybe this is an internship or a volunteer job.  Perhaps you can join an professional organization that focuses on your field of interest.  You can't simply sit in a classroom and learn STEM; you must experience STEM.  How do you find these opportunities?  Re-read the paragraphs above.  Be proactive; find a way!