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Clear Up Career Confusion

A woman sitting at a desk with a laptop and a pen.

​College only gives you a short time frame to decide on a career and prepare to enter the workforce. It can be exciting, confusing and overwhelming all at the same time. You can help yourself get clear on your career goals by implementing these strategies, which can set you up for success.

How Soon Should I Start?

Greater than 50 percent of students think about their careers before starting college; 40 percent wait until sophomore year to find ways to make themselves employable.*

Tip: Start building your soft skills, researching companies and performing additional work outside the classroom to make yourself an attractive first-time job candidate.

Seek Advice Outside of School

More than 50 percent (56.4%) of students turn to their college professors or staff for career advice.*
However, college staff doesn't necessarily have private-sector or graduate-school experience.

Tip: Get to know HR professionals in your field of interest by participating in Society for Human Resource Management chapter events.

Get Involved

A little over 13 percent (13.4%) of students rank extracurricular activities as a factor that can help their job application stand out.*

Employers like to see students involved in activities, especially those that are relevant to their career interests and show initiative.

Tip: Participate in relevant boot camps, trainings and clubs. Launch a project, like a podcast, to demonstrate your creativity.

Three percent of students feel it is important to participate in employer-sponsored events to stand out as a candidate. This could be a significant missed opportunity to get your foot in the door.

Tip: Make time to attend these events in order to show initiative and a commitment to the HR industry. Plus, you'll get career advice and differentiate yourself in the application process.

Should I Get a Job or an Internship?

Thirty-nine percent of students are more likely to think direct professional experience, such as an internship, increases their likelihood of standing out as a candidate.

The reality: Employers may prefer the candidate with job experience, even in an unrelated role, as long as you can demonstrate relevant transferable skills.

Tip: Find a job and look for ways to explain how those skills relate to a career in HR.


* Source: The Great Disconnect. (


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