Many articles and strategies reference ways to organize your time when you are a student. They speak to compartmentalizing experiences, blocking off hours to complete a project, save time for recreation, eating and sleeping, etc. When it comes to making decisions about your future, career options, graduate school, the internship and job search, etc. many do not think about that process in context of time management. For example, individuals often tend to approach the internship or job search when they are ready to start working, not recognizing that the process may actually have needed to have started 12-24 months earlier.
The 12-24 month timeframe is quite large and for some, completely unrealistic. They need to just focus on the here and now, going to class, holding a part-time job, meeting responsibilities for clubs or family, etc. to stay above water. They are not necessarily consciously thinking about the future, and they will prepare for it when convenient or it becomes necessity. However, for those looking to break into a specific industry with unique attributes, planning ahead can make the difference on acquiring the position they are ultimately seeking. Below are a few time management oriented techniques to put you on the path you are seeking.
Every semester: update your résumé to include information from that term. Come to the Center for Career Development (CCD) for a critique each semester. If you don’t yet have a career focus, you are just going to be bringing in a Master Résumé, a document that outlines your contributions but does not yet have a career focus.
Benefit: As you determine your career interests and do research on the field, you will learn about what experiences you need and can build them into your plan. You will see if there are gaps in your experience and understand how to fill them.
Benefit: You will have a written document that includes all of your experiences, so when you are a senior you are not trying to remember that award you earned spring as a sophomore.
Every month or two: review internship and job postings for areas of interest, to find out what skills the employers are seeking. Make note, look at your résumé, etc. Can you take a class to learn a new computer program? Are you able to start a blog? Could you take the lead on a project for a class? Would you consider chairing a committee in a club for an event or fundraiser? By consistently checking in within your field, you will start fine tuning your skill set long before you are actually ready to apply for a position.
Every day: push yourself out of your comfort zone. Are you talkative? Practice listening. Are you reluctant to share your ideas? Volunteer in class. Are you uncomfortable in one-on-one conversations with people you don’t know well? Meet with your professor during office hours to network and connect. Keeping your eyes open to new ideas and possibilities, and being mindful of your actions will position you for your next step.