THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Cliff's notes: Job tips for collegians now
For students about to start another year at school, here's a list of 12 things to do in college to set yourself up for a great job when you graduate.
1. Get out of the library. "You can have a degree and a huge GPA and not be ready for the workplace. A student should plan that college is four years of experience rather than 120 credits," says William Coplin, a Syracuse University professor.
2. Start a business in your dorm room. It's cheap, Google and Yahoo are dying to buy your website, and it's better than washing dishes in the cafeteria.
3. Don't take on debt that's too limiting. This is about choosing a state school over a pricey private school. Almost everyone agrees you can get a great education at an inexpensive school. In many cases the debt from a private school is more career-limiting than the lack of brand name on your diploma.
4. Get involved on campus. When it comes to career success, emotional intelligence– social skills to read and lead others– get you farther than knowledge or job competence, according to a professor at Harvard Business School. Julie Albert, a junior at Brandeis University, directs her a cappella group and head of orientation this year. She hones her leadership skills outside the classroom, exactly the place to do it.
5. Avoid grad school in the liberal arts. Only one in five English PhDs finds stable university jobs, and the degree won't help outside the university.
"Schooling only gives you the capacity to stand behind a cash register," says an anonymous columnist at the Chronicle of Higher Education (who has a degree from Harvard and a tenured teaching job.)
6. Skip the law-school track. Lawyers are the most depressed of all professionals. Stress alone itself does not make a job bad, says Princeton economist Alan Krueger. However, not having control over one's work does make a bad job, and lawyers are always acting on behalf of someone else. Suicide is the leading cause of premature death among lawyers.
7. Play a sport in college. People who play sports earn more money than couch potatoes, and women executives who played sports attribute much of their career success to their athletic experience, says Jennifer Cripsen of Sweet Briar College. You don't need to be great; you just need to be part of a team.
8. Separate your expectations from those of your parents. "Otherwise you wake up and realize you're not living your own life," says Alexandra Robbins, author of The Overachievers.
9. Try new things that you're not good at. "Ditch the superstar mentality. It's important to learn to enjoy things without getting recognition," says Robbins.
10. Define success for yourself. "Society defines success very narrowly," says Robbins. "Rather than defining success as financial gain or accolades, define it in terms of individual interests and personal happiness."
11. Make your job search a top priority. A good job does not fall in your lap; you have to chase it. Use spreadsheets to track your progress. And plan early. Goldman Sachs, for example, starts their information sessions in September.
12. Take a course in happiness. Happiness studies are revolutionizing how we think of psychology, economics, and sociology. How to be happy is a science that 150 schools in the country teach. Preview: Learn to be more optimistic. This class will show you how.