“During the school period the student has been mentally bending over his desk; at the University he should stand up and look around”. The English philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) summarizes perfectly with this maxim the approach anybody willing to take higher studies should have during those four or five years so relevant in their life.

It´s not only about combining classes and study hours to earn a diploma, or getting an internship placement which provides a certain guarantee of success when delving into the labour market. On campus there are plenty of other resources that can be extremely useful to achieve that goal. Many experts argue that those with some expertise outside the classroom are the ones most likely to succeed in that endeavour.

The undeniable opportunity of being a student

Every undergraduate must be aware that they can turn their situation into an excellent tool to become attractive talent demanded by companies. How?

1. Get internship placement periods.

Benefit from the agreements universities have with multiple organizations, or just find them yourself. By accumulating those professional experiences, you’ll not only acquire knowledge, but also provide yourself with added value and grow your professional network.           

2. The value of other kind of professional experiences.

Apart from internships within your sector, it’s advisable to acquire other professional experiences. Believe it or not, traditional weekend jobs are useful to develop some skills that will become essential in your future career.       

3. Your college’s event calendar is a must.

Many times, opportunities for professional development come hand in hand with cultural programmes and events held by universities themselves. Conferences, seminars, job fairs or workshops, among others, can be very useful for students. They serve to be aware of trends in the labour market and offer you the chance to meet referents in your professional sector. Taking part in those activities will allow you to gain access to high-profile businesspeople, who in many cases will be glad to dedicate you some time to talk about themselves and the work they’re passionate about.          

4. Share time and learn.

Another pretty interesting way to develop networking is to be part of one of the various groups within college environment, such as student associations, sport or cultural clubs, etc. Participation in their activities allows to get to know people training in other professional disciplines, and of diverse sensitivities, with whom you’ll be able to share knowledge and experiences that will enrich your future professional career. Besides, it’s always possible to create support networks with other students during significant moments such as the search for internship placements or the first job.

5. Don’t forget about languages.

Time in college is an ideal period to aim high in your future career by improving your knowledge of foreign languages. In this sense, a labour market study conducted by Randstad(enlace con nofollow) points out that knowledge of languages increases the chances of finding a job by 37 %. In fact, one out of four job offers includes that requirement, being English the most demanded. In executive profiles, the percentage soars up to 70%. You can improve in this regard during college time by choosing language subjects or joining courses held by university schools themselves, or even by taking private lessons from exchange students.

6. Beyond your frontiers.

International experiences also serve as a way to improve professional prospects of undergraduates. Initiatives of prestige such as the Erasmus(enlace con nofollow) programme provide an undeniable added value to their participants beyond language knowledge, since they allow to develop skills that are being increasingly demanded by companies.

7. Take advantage of your college’s professional resources.

It’s very advisable to resort to career guidance services both to get internship placements and to learn useful things for the labour market, such as how to write a good resume or prepare for a job interview.

8. The expertise of alumni.

Until recent years it wasn’t so usual, but the number of public and private universities that are giving their alumni the importance they deserve is growing. Alumni associations enrich college life with diverse activities. From younger alumni you can learn how to face the immediate future awaiting right after you finish your studies; in veterans you’ll find models to look up to and even valuable contacts with a view to professional development opportunities.

9. And why not create your own professional opportunities?

In the era of digitalization and new technologies, being a student and an entrepreneur at the same time is easier than ever, as is creating your own internship. It suffices to recall that some of the largest companies in the world, like Yahoo, Microsoft or Facebook, were born on campus. These business endeavours can be successful or not, but what seems clear is that they provide extremely useful skills for your future career, such as leadership, time management and networking.

Sources: Universia, Forbes, The Idealist, Unigo and El Mundo

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