“When I look back at my career and wonder ‘what could I have done differently?’, there is only one thing that comes to my mind – I took way too long to land up in my dream job. During my initial years, I often blamed my college and course for not giving me enough opportunities to up-skill myself. If only I had a different college, course, or the right connections, I would have succeeded faster.
However, with time, I realized that the fault was mine. I put little effort into upskilling myself or discovering my hidden talents and interests during my college years. I had the time, I had opportunities, and I had the willingness to do so. Yet, I was too distracted by friends, relationships, and college fests to take out time and discover what I really wanted to do or how I could get it. As I grew up, I realized there were a lot of things I could have done.”

Here are four things that you can do during college life, to get the requisite skills for your dream job:

  1. Apply for Fellowships or Volunteer Work– Apply to work with non-profit organizations that offer fellowships or part-time work to college students. These non-profit organizations provide corporate-like training, real-world outlook, and long-term projects to help you develop a professional outlook, learn about project management, and also develop proficient communication and social skills.
  2. Seek Relevant Internships and Live projects – Internships and live projects are a great place to learn more about your dream jobs. Try getting an internship in your dream company or its competitor to know whether you will be a good fit in that job and culture. At the same time, develop good relations with your immediate managers and peers so that they vouch for you if you apply there again. Bonus – if you perform well at the internship it increases your chances of getting a PPO or getting through next year.
  3. Enroll in Online and offline courses – Let’s accept it, college can’t teach us all that we need for our dream job. There are some job-ready skills like data science, specific programming languages, writing skills, project management skills, etc., for which we have to rely on outside sources. You can sign-up for these courses on online learning platforms (MOOCs) or join an offline training center near your vicinity.
  4. Take-up Freelance Work – If you don’t get an internship that offers you quality exposure or access to your ideal job, don’t be scared. There are ample opportunities that you can create around yourself. Reach out to people and offer help. Use your skills acquired from online-courses, college societies, fellowships, etc., for some freelance work, even if it doesn’t pay much. The experience will be priceless.

While, it’s important to have fun, party, and make strong friendships in college, be mindful of also taking out time to up-skill and discover what you want to do. It’s much harder to do so once you have graduated and are working in a full-time job.

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