We recently surveyed college students asking, “What are you doing to prepare yourself for the career world?” From seeking internships to mastering new languages, thousands of students revealed how they choose to prepare themselves for the workforce. Answers were as unique as the students themselves, but a few patterns arose. Learn how you can help your students fine-tune their preferred career prep methods.

Build a knowledge-base

Many students revealed that they are continuing to study, even outside of their course material. A few students noted that for their various career goals, they’ll be:

  • “Reading about and researching my future industry”
  • [Reviewing] “economic trade industry studies”
  • “Gathering information about disability rights”
  • “Touring facilities and plants that pertain to my field of interest”
  • “Developing skills”

This is generally the time and place where recommended reading provided by the instructor fits in. However, often, it feels as though this material may be over-looked by students. Knowing that nearly every student in a given class will go on to a different profession, provide them with unique examples of reference materials or ways that they can submerse themselves in their chosen career. Or, as an assignment, request that students research their own plan of action for learning about their chosen career:

  • Which reading materials should you rely on?
  • Which companies or role models should you follow?
  • How can you get a taste for your future career locally?

This is something students can build upon throughout their academic career and beyond.

Learn a new language

Learning a new language is an infinitely helpful skill, and in the United States, it’s not quite as common for students to master a second or third language as it is in other countries. Your students may benefit from advice on what languages are most beneficial for someone with their unique career goals. They may also need some hints on how to gain this skill, such as:

  • At their own or a nearby college
  • An online class
  • Language software

Naturally, for the US, a common second language is Spanish, as it’s the second most widely spoken domestically. Additionally, Spanish is the official language of around twenty different countries, and knowing how to communicate with individuals and professionals from these areas may be highly beneficial for many career paths.

Or perhaps those going into international business would want to study Mandarin, which at 935 million native speakers, is the most widely spoken language in the world. Mandarin Chinese is spoken in many influential south-east Asian countries, so knowing how to speak with professionals in these areas gives businesspeople the advantage of tapping into new markets and making personal connections with powerful economies.

Work, intern, volunteer

There’s no better way than to try it first hand! Many of our surveyed students said they’ll be trying to find job experience.

  • “Looking for jobs to help me have experience”
  • “Job shadowing”
  • “Seeking an internship to get work experience”
  • “Talk to people in the industry I want to be in”
  • “Trying to learn about options that are available for the medical field”

Ensure your student know that every employment or volunteer experience is an opportunity to build up a new set of valuable career skills. And that if their isn’t a good opportunity at the time, that many companies allow students to job shadow for a day or more. Encourage your student to research advantageous companies in the area. It is likely that they may have one of the aforementioned opportunities available.

Summer is the perfect time to begin building experience through work and internships, volunteer opportunities, or job shadowing. Visit our post, “Tips for Students: How To Get the Most Out of Summer” for tips on how to get your students started.

What do you find most helpful for students hoping to learn more about their chosen career? Share your ideas below.