Still in school? Preparing for career success before you graduate.
Still in school? Preparing for career success before you graduate.

students should study and plan career before they graduateWhen you’re knee-deep in assignments, papers and exams, (not to mention all of the other experiences of college/university life!) you may not be giving a lot of thought to life after graduation. But for many recent graduates, one of the biggest regrets is “I should’ve probably started planning sooner.”

Despite the presence of career centres, career fairs, and career counsellors on campus, these services are drastically underutilized by most students for most of their post-secondary academic career. It usually isn’t until they get close to graduation when thoughts of career preparation become more relevant – and urgent.

But with just a little more foresight and planning, you can start preparing for career success now, while still enjoying everything your post-secondary experience has to offer.


Here are some tips to get you started:


Preparing for Life Outside Academia — Most graduate students simply are not prepared for life outside of academia. When you’ve earned an advanced degree, your life on campus amongst other academics means that you may not be accustomed to explaining your unique skills and deeply specialized knowledge in a way that people outside universities can understand. As a Ph.D. myself, I understand this predicament, that is why I have put together some tips to get you started.


consider career options before you graduateAdvice on Job Searching as a New Graduate — While you may not be a graduate yet, my advice is to avoid waiting until you graduate to start thinking about “how can I get experience when I can’t get a job because I don’t have enough experience?” (Spoiler alert: Don’t sell yourself short, there’s some good news!)


Mentorship: A Predictor of Success — You don’t have to wait until you graduate to seek out mentorship (are you sensing a pattern here?!) Some people are reluctant to ask for help because they think it is a sign of weakness. But nobody who has achieved career success has done it totally on their own. Steve Jobs himself had seven (yes SEVEN) mentors for different aspects and stages of his life!


Why Networking Matters — Not all people are natural networkers. For many, the mere mention of networking can bring up all kinds of negative connotations. Although it might seem like a bunch of superficial small talk, the connections you make now could result in post-graduation opportunities. You just never know where those connections will lead or where some great opportunities will come from! If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry, networking is a skill that can be learned. Be sure to check the links in this article for access to other great networking resources!


Nuanced career advice … why professionals need it the most — These days possessing a university degree or even a professional designation doesn’t mean that you’re immune from career-related challenges. All too often, you can graduate from a program and then learn that there are too many graduates with a similar background for the available positions. So, if education isn’t enough, what more is needed?


If you’d like to discuss this or any other career-related topic further, you may reach out via direct message through TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn to learn more or book a free initial phone consultation.


You may also call me directly at 613-424-8689 or 1-888-878-8861 or send an email to helen@ioadvisory.com to discuss my career, executive coaching, or HR services.


More than career coaching, it’s career psychology®.


I/O Advisory Services – Building Resilient Careers and Organizations.™


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