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How to invest in a professional career from the first year of college?

The first year of college is a real redemption for many students. Conquering a place and joining a new course is very rewarding, but it’s not time to relax yet.

Although it is just the beginning of a journey, it is necessary to plan now. Knowing how to invest in your professional career is something you can’t give up.

But no need to be anxious! If you are in your first year of college, here are some good tips to take advantage of everything that graduation offers from the beginning. Keep reading!

Graduation: the beginning of your professional career

There is no doubt that entering an undergraduate course is the kick-off to a professional career. To give you an idea, data show that there was a 5.4% increase in the number of students enrolled in HEIs in 2019. The trend is that this search for training will only increase.

Despite this, the decision to pursue a degree needs to be made consciously. When choosing a course, it is not enough just to focus on future financial gains, but mainly on affinity with the desired area.

Another important factor concerns the quality and recognition of the educational institution. The reputation of the chosen college can be a difference in the future exercise of the profession, especially when looking for a job.

Once enrolled, it’s time to plan your future. Although it seems early, starting to think about how to invest in a professional career will be an ace in the sleeve to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Developing a career plan

The first step for anyone who is concerned about how to invest in a professional career from the beginning of college is to develop a career plan. This long-term planning will guide you throughout your academic and professional life.

This plan should address the following issues:

General objectives and goals

The north that will guide your career plan must be your professional objective. What do you aim for in your career? A job at a specific company? A salary amount? Set your objective and work to complete it.

In addition to this general objective, you also need to set goals to achieve it. Steps such as “finding an internship in the second semester”, or “publishing a scientific article” are examples of concrete and possible goals.

Professional scenario analysis

Unfortunately, we cannot base our careers on our dreams alone. When planning for the long term, it is important that you analyze concrete data about the profession you chose to follow.

What are the professional prospects after leaving college? What is the market reality for this profession? Are there already saturated areas within the chosen career? If so, what new paths can you take?

If you are concerned about how to invest in your professional career, be sure to answer these and other questions.

«Know yourself»

When planning your long-term career, it is also important to make a diagnosis of your profile. What skills do you need to acquire to fulfill your ambitions? What limitations do you have today?

To answer these questions, a very useful tool is the personal SWOT matrix, a detailed analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This detailed diagnosis will help you to walk the right paths for your professional life.

Having planned out the general guidelines for your career, it’s time to «roll up your sleeves». But how to invest in a professional career from the beginning of the course?

5 practical tips for those who plan their career from the beginning of the course

Some simple and effective actions can be taken by the student who has been worried about his future since the beginning of college. Check out:

1. Always be up to date with your studies

This is an obvious guideline for every student, especially for those entering college with a career in mind. College is no joke! Neglecting studies is the fastest way to fall behind and waste professional opportunities.

Organize a daily study routine, do not accumulate subjects, attend classes and, in general, dedicate yourself. Although not the only one, student performance will be a decisive factor in your professional training.

2. Strengthen the network of relationships

A college degree is a gold mine when it comes to networking training. Make good use of the academic community and take the opportunity to meet many people. These contacts will be very important to you in the future.

Don’t limit your options when it comes to building your network of contacts. Go beyond the classroom, meet people from other courses, professors, scientific initiation colleagues and even college staff. Strengthen your relationships and they will bear precious fruit in your professional life.

3. Do not neglect professional practice

“In practice, the theory is different”.

This maxim says a lot about the importance of professional practice. There is no way to invest in a professional career by limiting your graduation to academic environments only.

For that, going for internships and jobs related to your area is a great initiative. Just take care that these activities are contextualized with what you predicted in your career plan, after all, everything needs to be connected to the execution of your professional goals.

4. Develop soft skills

Have you ever heard of soft skills? They are nothing more than emotional skills that, although not necessarily related to technical aspects of the profession, help in the formation of a complete professional.

Empathy, leadership, organization, collaboration, resilience. These and other skills, combined with adequate technical knowledge, can boost your professional performance, provided they are properly developed. Take advantage of your graduation to improve them!

5. Enjoy time out of college

Okay, we know that a degree course takes a lot of time and effort. But it is outside the classroom that you will get the differential needed for your curriculum.

Language courses, qualifications, professional certifications and any other side projects that enrich your training cannot be left out. Think of this task as an investment in your career and it won’t be that hard.

There is no doubt that a solid professional career must be planned for the long term. If you are a freshman, take advantage of the moment and plan how to invest in your professional career now to get ahead after the long-awaited graduation.


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