Why You Should Know Your Career Options Before You Graduate

Street sign with two signs that say career dr and opportunity drIt’s called the Peter Pan Syndrome. It is a desire to never grow up; to stay young forever; to shrug off the mantle of responsibility that inevitably comes with adulthood. This type of mentality has sent ripples throughout the entire American culture, spawning multiple phenomenons that celebrate the spontaneity of life.

Although cultural entities such as these have significantly increased in numbers for the past decade, they have not reduced the continuing education and advancement of our society. Possessing a slightly care free mindset, the current generation still holds the ideal of the American dream; they want to be just as successful and achieve just as much (if not more so) than their parents.

Reaching High


Teenagers and young adults are attending and graduating from higher education in record numbers. As of 2013, over 21 million students were attending colleges or universities across the nation, nearly a 30% increase from a decade before. Part of this may be attributed to an increase in availability, as well as an increase in the education of the parents. Either way, it is clear that the US economy is increasingly placing less emphasis on industry and skilled labor, and more on management and degree based professions.

The need for a degree is what has driven students to enroll in higher education in such large numbers. Young people across the nation are jumping into the college life whole heartedly, resulting in a better educated and better prepared generation of citizens.

Lack of Direction


While the increase in numbers is a promising marker for our society, the students themselves may face some adversity following their graduation. The increase in graduates means greater competition for jobs, a competition that is affecting all fields of employment. Throw in the fact that our economy is still recovering from the recession of the late 2000’s, making it seem like all of the education in the world won’t help someone get a job.

These factors point to one simple conclusion: students need to start preparing earlier for their entry into the modern market. Simply having a degree in hand and walking into an interview is not going to cut it; companies are placing increasing emphasis on real world experience, with particular attention paid to internships and research. These types of activities are what make a potential applicant valuable, but students must be invested in these activities during the college years, not after.

On the House


Fortunately, colleges have a vested interest in guaranteeing their graduates’ success, and therefore, the majority of them provide many avenues for advancing their students. Most colleges will have a career center or a Job Placement Office where undergraduates can get information and assistance; this assistance ranges from proofreading resumes, to internship data bases, to personality tests to help students find career options.

Career centers or job placement offices are not the only place on campus to find advice; professors, deans, and alumni connections are all treasure troves of career-pertinent information. The teachers and administrators of most schools are more than happy to speak with their students about future career options, as well as provide directional advice that could speed a bright student onto bigger and better things.

It’s Not What You Know…


…it’s WHO you know. This adage has proven itself time and again, particularly with the advent of social media providing increased connectivity. Professional networking sites like LinkedIn provide an opportunity for young talent to connect with the hiring managers of the working world. Exploring career options through family, friends, and connections can provide opportunities to positions students may not have previously considered.

Making these connections as an undergrad can provide an important factor that many firms look for: fit. According to a recent Forbes study, over 70% of law firms described “fit” as being an important factor during the hiring process. Investment banks and consulting firms also described a potential hire’s fit as an important category, wanting to make sure that their employees are not just qualified, but enjoyable as well. Making connections before college will help students find where they fit.

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance


Whether it is a sports game, a long road trip, or even just a simple task like cleaning the house, it is always better to be over prepared than under. As such, knowing your career choices before you walk across that stage will help prepare you for the post graduate life. College can be the best years of your life, but if you don’t have anything to show for it at the end, you will immediately regret your lack of effort.

Enjoy yourself while you are in school, but also make sure you look for something that will actually advance you and your interests. If you still haven’t decided your major by senior year, there is legitimate cause for concern. But if you work as hard as you play, you will look back later in life and appreciate the time you took to prepare for your future.

Start Your Future Today


Florida National University has a track record of seeing its students through undergraduate life and beyond. We care about our students, not just while they are enrolled, but in their future careers as well. Our professors, administrators, and staff are more than happy to help you prepare for your post graduate career. Contact us and get started on your path to success today!

Pages Cited

“Table 20. Actual and Projected Numbers for Total Enrollment in All Postsecondary Degree-granting Institutions, by Sex, Attendance Status, and Control of Institution: Fall 1996 through Fall 2021.” Table 20. Actual and Projected Numbers for Total Enrollment in All Postsecondary Degree-granting Institutions, by Sex, Attendance Status, and Control of Institution: Fall 1996 through Fall 2021. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.

Adams, Susan. “Employers Hire Potential Drinking Buddies Ahead Of Top Candidates.”Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 03 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.