For most incoming students, moving to college for the first time is an exciting chance to start something new. Whether you are moving far away from home or staying closer, you are still trying something new and exciting that will challenge you and help you grow in so many different ways. Often, when talking to first and even second year students about career planning, we get looks of panic or the response of “I’ll stop by my senior year.” There are a few easy things that everyone can start doing early to help plan for the future so that, in addition to enjoying college, you are preparing yourself for what comes next. Here are a few suggestions that anyone can do at the beginning of this school year to get started.

Build your Resume

This might sound like an early time to get started, but the sooner you start your resume, the easier it will be to update. If you put down all of your experiences in one place, it might help you see gaps that you have in your experience. Throughout your college years, you can make a plan for part-time jobs and internships that will help you gain the experience you need before you graduate. Then, keep updating it every semester and compare it with job descriptions or graduate school requirements to make sure you’re on track.

Join a Club

Find a group on campus that you connect with and get plugged in. This is a great way to start making friends and finding fun things to do, but it also gives you great experience. Participating on campus can help you network and it is great to add to your resume. Don’t feel like you have to join all the clubs, but find at least one thing to do.

Start Planning for Summer

The school year may be starting, but employers are already starting to think about spring and even summer internships. If you are planning to find an internship for next summer, participate in the fall job fairs and start networking now. Always give yourself at least a semester before you want to do an internship to get started. Most internships are competitive and have many qualified applicants early on. It is also helpful to have a plan as early as possible if your internship needs to be approved for class credit by a professor. If you aren’t ready for an internship yet, start thinking about how your summer plans can fill in some of the resume gaps you want to work on.

Try out different options

The earlier in your college career you get started, the more chances you will have to try different things. If you are interested in a few different fields, or are still deciding what you might want to do, college is the perfect time to explore! Find a mentor in a job field, or do internships in different areas to get a better idea of what you enjoy about a job. Some students find that they love their experience and have found something they are excited about, but it is just as helpful to find out that you don’t like something in college so that you have time to switch gears and keep looking for a good fit.

Getting a head start on career planning is one of the best things you can do for your future. These are just a few ideas to help plan for your future while still enjoying college. Give yourself options and exposure to different people and experiences; you never know when those will translate into connections with potential jobs or graduate school recommendations. Try a few of these strategies this fall and visit Career Services if you need help. It’s never too late to get started planning for your future!

Are you looking for ways to get plan ahead for your future? Or maybe you need help building your resume or lining up a summer job? Our Career Services center wants to help! We invite you to visit our website to learn more and to schedule an appointment.