I was working with a college sophomore recently who was applying for a Summer White House Internship. This college sophomore was clearly an outstanding student in high school. His resume showed strong involvement in extracurricular activities. However, there was a sharp decline in college involvement in his freshman year and in his sophomore year so far.
Although the transition to college is challenging, it is important that college students take career steps every year they are in college. The sophomore year is perfect to jump into career activities on the college campus. These three career steps for college sophomore are simple. These career steps will take thought and relatively very little time, but will give the college sophomore an career advantage when they need it - at graduation. Rule of thumb with college resumes; after your sophomore year, there should be very little, if any, mention of high school activities. Your college activities in your freshman and sophomore years become more important.
Career step #1 for college sophomores - Do some personal career research and exploration
College students are often very unclear about values, interests, skills and abilities as a freshman. As a sophomore college students, this self awareness becomes very important. The sophomore year is a perfect time to complete career assessments that will help college sophomores see how to translate their college major into future careers. Career assessments to identify values, interests, skills and abilities will help college sophomores know, for example, what type of internship or summer experience to pursue. College sophomores can access free or low cost career assessments in their college career centers or this online career center. Print and bring results to the campus career center to get help on career direction.
Career Step #2 for college sophomore - Get involved with career professional associations
There are many groups and clubs on the college campus where college sophomores can connect. Many of the campus clubs and organizations are about social and community activities. There is nothing wrong with that type of involvement, but sophomores should also become engaged in student chapters of national professional associations or student organizations related to their college majors. Most professional associations offer low cost membership fees for college students. Many campus chapters of professional associations have speakers, host job fairs and information sessions. It is a good way as a college sophomore to meet with people from a profession you may be thinking about.
Career Step #3 for college sophomore - Start thinking about a longer term career plan
Too many college students wait until they are about to graduate from college to develop career plans. Let's face it, college is not all about being serious and extra long-term planning for the future. However, thinking about a career plan and life beyond college doesn't mean charts and graphs and serious discussion as a sophomore college student. It means thinking that you have two summers to go before graduating. How do you want to spend those two summers? Is an internship or summer program part of your plan? How do you want to spend spring break? Partying in the Caribbean or having even one alternative spring break experience.