Students should seek opportunities for career advancement

Jasmine Fleming

I have two years left at UNA, and I intend to make them last as long as possible. However, one thing I do, and encourage other students to do as well, is to never let an opportunity pass that will help in the future.

I have been lucky in that some opportunities have fallen into my lap. With my current internship, an HR representative found my resume online and asked if I wanted to work for her company.

It has been a great opportunity, but I am not crazy. I know opportunities like those do not come every day.

Students often search high and low before their first job comes through. In fact, a 2014 article in Bloomberg Business said the unemployment rate for college grads age 22-27 is 5.6 percent. What is more, the article said a number of those who do find employment are underemployed, meaning their jobs do not require their skill sets.

Add in repaying loans and other regular bills, and this could be a frustrating situation. In my opinion, the best way to guard from unemployment is to start looking toward the future as soon as possible.

Business Insider recently listed the top six tips to landing that first after-graduation job. Unsurprisingly, and possibly saddening to students who know exactly what they want in a career, the top tip was to forget the “dream job” and to search for other outside-of-the-box opportunities.

The third and fourth tips, meeting with the students’ Career Services office at their university and networking, stood out to me, partly because students have opportunities to do this anytime during the semester.

When I read these, UNA’s Career Carnival, scheduled for April 14, came to mind.

I looked into it, and I figured I would go if I had time. I was not too excited since the registered employers did not fit into my field.

After thinking about it, I changed my mind. Career Planning and Development will host the event, and it brings local companies together with students, which knocks out both the third and fourth tips.

Even if the companies do not seem to have a direct correlation to my future career goals, meeting new people from local employers could never hurt, and networking is always a positive.

That is why I encourage students to do the same. Going to the Career Carnival would be a great way to begin preparing for the future.

However, it is not the only way.

Setting up appointments or mock interviews with Career Planning and Development, or using their research and expertise, is another.

No matter what students decide to do, anything related to finding employment, or getting experience in respective fields, will be of value. Take each opportunity that comes, even when you do not see the connection it could have to your career goals right away.