In secondary school, stress is placed on getting good grades, because only good grades can get you admitted into a good university. In post-secondary education, the game changes and many students fail to realize that. They continue stressing themselves over studying hard and tough to score high marks in their classes; I’m not implying that this is bad, but instead efforts are placed on the wrong goal. For those of us who have graduated from university, we can definitely vouch that our good grades did little to help us book a job! The “real world” has little interest in knowing if you were a top student; what every employer wants to see on your resume is: “YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE FIELD”, period! If the ultimate purpose of going to university is to secure a great career afterwards, then this should be our focus. Go ahead and study to your best ability but trust me, don’t kill yourself to be the number one student. Concentrate mainly on how to prepare yourself for the workforce. The following are two important tips, driven from my experience and that of my peers, to prepare you for the workforce:
- Get professional experience: During your time in your university, seek to get an opportunity to work in your field of interest either through volunteer work, internship, or professional work. If you are studying health, for example, you can volunteer at a hospital or clinic as a patient support giver. If you are a law major, you can get an internship in a legal firm as a receptionist or legal assistant. These companies are always looking for people to do their work for free, so why not jump on the opportunity that allows you to be inside the workforce. Additionally, if your work is impeccable, these companies can most likely retain you after graduation. So, shift your focus on getting experience in your field of study in order to build up your resume. Remember, employers want to know if you possess the ‘skills’ for the jobs and NOT the ‘grades’ for the job.
- Be sociable: Let’s face it: In life, you can’t do everything alone, you need, first of all, God’s leadership and then human help. I saw many students during classes who never spoke to their surrounding mates. They entered the classroom, sat down, took notes, and left after the session was over. These students were the same ones suffering when they had, for example, missed a class. Who would they refer to to catch up? Who could help them if they were stuck and couldn’t understand the lessons taught? That’s why we need to connect with people. Back in uni, I always made it my primary task in every new class to introduce myself to at least one person sitting around me. This habit was so resourceful for the reasons previously highlighted. Be sociable, be open to students, professors, or other department heads because down the road, you never know how these individuals will be of help when you’ll start looking for a job. I’m not saying that you should befriend people for benefits, but with a genuine heart, seek to be sociable and do good because that’s what the Lord wants from us (Titus 3:14) and this is to our wellbeing (Galatians 6:9); we need to treat others as we would want to be treated. I can definitely testify that after graduation, some of the job opportunities that came my way weren’t due to me struggling to get interviews. For instance, before I was about to graduate with my Masters’ degree, my professor approached me with a job offer in her sister’s company, and another job opportunity came from a good classmate of mine who was working as a manager and had an opening in her company. This was absolutely the hand of God upon my life and I surely believe that had I not obeyed the Word of God by being friendly, these opportunities would have never come my way. In today’s workforce, connections will help you go from one place to another. Just think about this, if you own a company, would you rather hire a stranger or a trustworthy friend?
Think thoroughly about the above tips sisters! Now is the time to start building up your resume while you are still in school. Do your best in your classes but concentrate more on preparing yourself for the workforce, because ultimately, this is the place you will enter when you finish school!