11 Career Success Tips For Students


Whatever career path you may desire; be it a full time job or entrepreneurship, the journey to success begins during studentship. More than half of the career issues / problems can be traced to poor or weak foundation. Here are some simple tips that can help students achieve their desired career.

1 Choose the right course of study – It all starts with your course of study. It is sometimes vital to get it right at that point. Many of the career challenges that young graduates face can be attributed to wrong choice of discipline. For instance, it is not unusual for me to receive enquiries from a Biology Education graduate (as an example) seeking ways to join the oil and gas industry. A lot of people will argue that course of study doesn’t matter. This is true to some extent, but not in all cases. Many vacancies may be open to graduates from all fields, but a significant number of job openings still require graduates of certain disciplines. In addition, scholarship opportunities may vary depending on your course of study. It may be also difficult and time consuming switching careers after graduation. As much as you can, get it right from the start. However, it must be acknowledged that some are offered courses not by their choice.

2 Get good grades – I need to emphasize this as this is the second, if not the most important advice. There is a wide chasm between graduates of different grades/classes in the labour market today in almost every part of the world (not only in Nigeria), particularly between 2.1 and 2.2. The sad reality out there is that it is tough for grads with 2.2 and lower grades. They face strong discrimination. Many end up moving from one small job to another. They find it hard to make the big break. A few get lucky but that’s not always the case for many. Even additional degrees and certifications can never make up for low grades. For instance, the international oil firm I work for does not accept graduates with grades less than 2.1 as a matter of policy, even for internship and contract positions. It doesn’t matter if you are the child of the MD. You won’t get the opportunity without a 2.1. Quite a number of 2.2 grads have sought my help to gain graduate internship position in my workplace, but I couldn’t really help. Some postgraduate schools do not accept graduates with CGPA lower than a set limit. Foreign scholarship opportunities for a certain class of graduates are virtually non-existent. Don’t joke with your studies. Try as much as you can to finish with at least a 2.1 or Upper Credit. If possible, go for a first class or distinction. Good grade improves your self-esteem. Even if you seek to go into entrepreneurship / business ownership, get good grades. No one will think you are going into self- employment because you couldn’t cope with your studies. However, I am aware that not all students will finish with good grades (for one reason or the other). You can refer to my article on “10 helpful tips for graduates with 2.2 and lower grades” on Jarushub.

READ ALSO;  11 Tips To Get Your CV Noticed By Employers

3 Get a mentor(s) – As much as possible, try and get mentors that will provide advice and guidance as you progress your studies. This should be people who have achieved success in their desired academic or career pursuits. Mentor may also be senior colleagues that are doing well academically. Mentors provide you with a clear and realistic outlook to life and career issues. They can help shape your thoughts. Some can also be helpful in securing student internship opportunities when the need arises. They may sometimes be busy due to their tight schedule. However, the onus lies on you to follow up and keep the relationship alive.

4 Join professional bodies – this is the best time for you to join professional bodies. Most professional bodies offer discounted rates to students. You get the opportunities to meet professionals who can be potential mentors. You get to know about opportunities relating to your field and also attend conference, workshops and seminars that can aid capacity enhancement.
5 Certification – Certifications are not compulsory. However, some certifications may require you to start off early. An obvious example is ICAN. Others can be easily acquired and may real value when looking a job e.g. NISP HSE levels 1 – 3.

6 Be a balanced student – Like it is said, do not let the institution pass through you. Pass through the institution. Participate in social activities in school. Develop your intellect by joining in intellectual debates. Get involved in sports and make sure you take care of your physical health. Learn new skills, like learning to play a musical instrument. Build other aspects of your life such as teamwork skills, coordination skills, communication skills, social skills, etc. You learn to balance your time and priorities at this stage. Make friends and start building network even amongst your fellow students. From personal observation, I can say that people build their most valuable relationships, not at the workplace but in school. Make use of that opportunity. You may never have it again. There are some skills (like playing keyboard) I wished I learnt while in school. But now, it’s too late. I believe I have missed some opportunities simply because I don’t know to play a keyboard.

7 Be informed about opportunities outside school – The best time to start equipping yourself with information is while you are a student. Learn about opportunities in the career, business and academic world. The decision to either gain work experience or further your education after graduation is best made as an undergraduate. Be informed. In that way, you don’t lose time.

8 Take Mathematics serious – This is particularly for those studying courses with little or no application of Mathematics. Mathematics helps to build your analytical skills, problem solving skills and cognitive ability. Besides you will find the knowledge useful when you start writing job aptitude tests. I know graduates who find it extremely difficult to scale through job aptitude tests partly or mainly because their knowledge of mathematics is poor. Some of them have excellent communication and interview skills but rarely get the chance to showcase these abilities as they are dropped at the first (test) stage. Ironically, the mathematics/quantitative aspect of an aptitude test is usually the easiest to get a high mark if you have a fair knowledge of elementary maths. Even as an art, social science or biological science students, practice basic mathematics as your spare time. You will never regret it.

9 Take advantage of undergraduate scholarships – there are so many of them now (Total, Shell, Mobil, MTN foundation, etc). Don’t let them slide. With more money at your disposal, you can achieve a lot like acquiring new skills and certifications, attending professional and business seminars/ workshops, buying resourceful books, etc. The money will also come handy when processing and applying for foreign postgraduate programs, grants or scholarships. Saved fund can also serve as buffer during the dry period of job hunting. Believe me, it takes money to job hunt. It was the money I saved from my undergraduate scholarship fund that saw me through during my 5 months of job hunting.

10. Do a good project work – Do a quality project work. Take your final year project thesis seriously. Do something you can be proud of, a work you can boldly include on your CV and defend. Understand your project work and be able to state what exactly you did and for what purpose, what you learnt, how it developed you, and how you were able to achieve your project goal. You will find it useful during interviews.

Just have a look at these career opportunities on RigJobs to find the job of your dream.

And last but certainly not the least…

11. Worry less and always have a positive outlook about the future– Worrying solves nothing. Worrying is a negative emotional energy. It has a deleterious effect on your mind, and weighs you down. It drains your positive energy. I have learnt over time that things sort themselves out at the right time. I remember how concerned I was as a corps member about getting a good job because of my age and limited internship experience. I worried so much till I decided to stop worrying at a point and focus. Today, I have worked with 3 firms many strongly desire to work for. Do your best, enjoy your moment as a student and leave the rest to God via prayers.

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