The college experience is shifting as we know it. Today when you step on a campus you are exposed to hundreds of windows of opportunity. Unfortunately high school is doing a poor job of helping us recognize what these windows look like and how to find them. All we are taught is to get accepted into a school, pick a major, and make a good GPA because that’s how you get a nice paying job and a successful career. Nothing is wrong with this approach, but be prepared for a highly competitive job hunt with a group of graduates who are just like you reaching for every desirable position. And with over 50% of recent grads unemployed or underemployed this atmosphere isn’t getting any better. As a victim of this path I can tell you first hand it’s the real deal. I was applying for jobs I was excited about with no success and had to settle with the one I interned for because it kept me on the prescribed route. This was not exactly the way I envisioned my first steps after walking the stage.
This is why students need to enter their University with an entrepreneurial mindset. Whether you want to stand out in your field or start your own business, you must be an operator. Whether it’s your daily life or grinding as a startup, you have to make things happen. Career services at your school can’t do the heavy lifting. Sure it’s nice to get a resume makeover or attend the job fair, but there are more advantageous ways to position yourself for the future. Start networking early in college. Attend as many events as you can and delve into different industries via projects or working with alumni. One of the biggest truths I’ve fully realized after school is “It’s not who you know, but who knows you, and who do they know?” Networking is essential. Collect as many experiences as possible with as many people that are interested in the same things as you. Intern, do a mentorship, apprenticeship etc. These translate to work experience which not only looks good on a resume, but helps you establish connections and sort out what you’re truly passionate about.
Once you find this, the challenge becomes translating that passion to $$$. What I’ve noticed is how much easier this is and how many more resources are available when you begin while in school. If the job opportunities available don’t motivate you, then why not start your own business in college. To me there is no better time. You have a pool of potential teammates that are intelligent and motivated just like you that may want to partner up. There are groups of students who have/are doing this very thing. Like Clusterflunk, a social network for your classes which was started by a group of students while attending the University of Iowa. Another impressive example is Bellwether Creation Company. This is a collection of college students that are taking their talents to Chicago after starting a marketing and design company while in school. These students took advantage of a great opportunity before them. One that the students of today should all take note of, as the opportunities are limitless.
My name is Alec Fetterer, founder of a recent start-up (Transform Tutoring). I blog to share the knowledge I’m accumulating throughout the start-up process. If you like what you see add me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @AlecFetterer, or connect with me via LinkedIn. For more about what I do, check out my website:www.transformtutoring.wix.com/transform.