Once you’ve decided to pursue a career path, it’s time to take action. Here are a few concrete steps that can elevate your resume and help you stand out in competitive fields.
The clichéd phrase, “It’s all about who you know,” has a grain of truth to it, but it’s equally as important to acquire skills that set you apart. Knowing a specialized programming language or an obscure legal field can help you find a niche, and then develop a reputation as an expert in that area. Ultimately, your education shouldn’t end on graduation day, and you should always be broadening your skill set in an eclectic, but complementary, way.
Next, it’s crucial to have a long view when thinking about your career. Right now, you might not be making the money you want, and your current projects may be somewhat unfulfilling. However, if you’re in an industry that brings you joy, your enthusiasm will translate to the work, and you’ll attract more opportunities over time. Stay focused on the task, and the rest will eventually fall into place.
With a smartphone at your fingertips, it’s so easy to get distracted. You might think that it’s a good idea to check job listings, add to your LinkedIn network, and post Facebook updates throughout the day, but this scattered approach offers diminishing returns. Instead, you should designate one or two brief blocks of time (under 20 minutes) for social media use. Then, get out into the real world and start improving yourself.
Finally, you can fast-track your journey to a dream career by finding mentors in your desired field. Mentors can serve as a sounding board, offer their learned experience, and share their network when you’re ready to make a professional leap. Start by befriending a few teachers and attending their office hours, and then acquire more mentors through internships and industry events.
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