By KELLI K. NICHOLAS
Planner, Marketing Coordinator — Michigan Works! Region 7B
College is a time to learn about yourself as much as it is a time to explore what is around you. It is a time to try something you always wanted to, but didn’t have a chance to do, no matter your age.
Part-time jobs, volunteering and internships can help mold your interests and skills. Don’t be afraid to speak with local employers or non-profit organizations to ask if you could volunteer for a few hours a week to hone your skills or receive some mentoring. In fact, Michigan Works! has used interns in a variety of ways over the years. These interns are able to roll up their sleeves to become involved in projects to really help develop their skills.
Everyone has “hard skills,” which are job-specific depending upon the industry or field. “Soft skills” are those personal talents; they include friendliness, problem solving, communication, time management, and organization. Pick a career that blends your skill set and you will be much happier and successful. Training and practice will help you fill in any gaps you may have in your skill set. Again, part-time jobs and internships can help in this regard.
You need to be your own boss of your time. Two hours of prep time for every hour of class is the mark. If you’re taking 15 class hours, that would be 30 hours a week or broken down to four hours a day. Toss in a part-time job or family obligations and you will be very busy.
You should visit each instructor at least once during the semester. Using their office hours to clarify assignments or just to talk is something too many students never take advantage of.
Keep up the good work habits: Start your homework the day it is assigned, find time to study, review your notes and read ahead. The instructors expect you to read and follow the syllabus. It’s extremely hard to recover from a poor GPA, so do not get behind.
All of this advice will help you graduate and begin your career path. If your job ties in to your passions, you’ll flourish. The advice above holds true not only for your college career but starting a new job as well.
It does not matter if you are a new college student, someone who has an established work history starting school again or someone in between, this career column will have something of value to you. Here we will share advice on starting and keeping a job search plan to land that next job as well as throw in some helpful resources to make your transition from student to paid employee a little easier.
I look forward over the school year to sharing information with you and invite you to visit your nearest Michigan Works! Service Center to experience firsthand the wide variety of services offered to help you achieve your career goals.
(Mid Michigan Career Outlook is a regular monthly feature of The Laker Current.)