Choosing a career path can be scary, especially when many of us are only 18 years old when starting college. While you may be worried that your degree choice will lock you down forever, trust me when I say there are many opportunities out there you may not have known existed! My recommendation to you — start networking sooner rather than later. Here are a few of my tips that have helped me find the right career path for me.
While networking can sound intimidating, the more you practice the easier it gets. We are lucky to live in the time that we do, because we have the luxury of LinkedIn and e-mail! Professionals LOVE to talk to students! If you have any interest whatsoever in an industry, or a specific company — find those people on LinkedIn and reach out! Something as simple as writing the following could open many doors:
“My name is Mickaela and I am a student at USF. I am highly interested in your industry and would love to chat briefly to learn more about what you do. Do you have any availability in the coming weeks?”
Professionals absolutely love to help students, so use it to your advantage to build these connections now. Relationships you can cultivate and maintain will benefit you in one way or another. If that person is not the best resource for you, they may be able to introduce you to someone who is.
Through making these introductions and connections, you not only can learn about an industry of interest, but make a great impression and stay on their radar for future internships or job openings. That contact you met two months ago for coffee? They may now have a summer internship opening at your dream company and before posting it online calls you first because you wowed them by taking the initiative to introduce yourself.
Good luck with your career searches and I hope this can help you take the first step!
Mickaela McNatt is a senior at The University of South Florida majoring in Finance.