Continuing with the format of the previous interview article, this time I had a very intriguing discussion with an old friend of mine: Karolina Aleksenberg. She was willing to give up some of her time to provide insight into her experience with the work world and how her decisions in college led an extraordinary future career. Currently, Karolina works as the Senior HRA of Amazon in California.
Now, for all of you thinking about working after graduation (which should be on every college students’ mind), we discussed exactly what you might expect within the work environment.
What to Consider in College
Before you start heading off into the “real world” to begin adulting, it’s important to consider your decisions in college. As you’re aware, the purpose of college is to help you determine and learn the skills necessary to perform in your designated career.
Nevertheless, one of the initial obstacles to success in college involves choosing your major. This decision is huge so don’t take it lightly. Really, take your time to make a thorough decision. Weigh your options carefully and research the ROI (Return on Investment) of your major and the quality of work within each potential major.
Now, it helps to have a good idea of what you enjoy and what you think you’ll like to do for years to come. It’s important to note that it’s absolutely fine if you don’t immediately know what you want to do right off the bat. While it’s amazing if you do know exactly what you want to do Freshman or Sophomore year (as you can capitalize a little quicker), you can still use those two years to really investigate and explore various major options.
Karolina explains that she juggled the options of Accounting, working as a lawyer, and Human Resources before making a final decision. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little.
Once you figure out what major you want to be in, it’s time to execute accordingly! There are four things you should be doing (or planning to do immediately) once you figure out your major: Join a club, start networking, find internships, and build skills.
This comes up a lot but it’s absolutely crucial that you build good relationships through networking. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of networking, check out the article Networking-What is It? for a bit more insight.
Now, you might be wondering, “But, exactly HOW do I network”? Perhaps you’re picturing an event which forces you to talk to individuals you have no real desire to speak with. Maybe you’re uncomfortably and awkwardly strolling around a large room wearing a business suit while looking for someone to strike up a conversation with while everyone in the room is doing the same.
No need to worry because Karolina provided some great insight into that as well. She explains that when it comes to finding a job, a lot of it can come down to who you know. Furthermore, having good connections are a great way of building trust.
Finding a club (specifically one relevant to your major) is absolutely vital! As a Human Development and Labor Employment Relations major, Karolina understood that it was extremely crucial to join a club that could effectively suit her needs. With this in mind, she joined the Society of Human Management.
Now, what’s the benefit of a club? Well, there are three solid reasons. First, if you need to ask the what the benefits are, you should definitely check out the article: Why You Should Join Clubs on Campus after you finish reading this one.
Second, you get to network! Remember I mentioned that term earlier? One of the simplest, yet effective ways to network is by being in a club. It’s especially helpful when the club is based around a specific career. The third reason is to help build a great skill set.
Karolina recommends that students always stay competitive by always seeking to improve and by building skills which can increase the value that you can provide. Specific clubs are an excellent way to allow you to do just that.
While we’re on the topic of skills, let’s talk about internships. For those of you that aren’t aware, an internship involves you working with a group or company for a limited time in order to gain experience before officially entering the workforce. What comes with experience? You guessed it: skills. While it can vary depending on the course workload, major, and GPA, you’ll want to get an internship as soon as possible.
Internships provide a great return on your time investment as you can earn extra credits, get a first-hand look at the professional world, potentially find a mentor, and even possibly get paid.
Remember, your goal as an undergrad is to be as competitive as possible and to bring value to anyone who hires you. It certainly helps if you’re aware of how things work beforehand.
Maximize your Skillset
In the words of Karolina, “you always have to modify that resume”. The fact that I’ve mentioned the importance of skills at least three times should be a great indicator of its importance. To be clear, building skills doesn’t simply involve directly working for a job. As Karolina expresses, you need to be well-rounded and have as many skills as possible. You should definitely take advantage of any event your college/university has to offer.
Go to job fairs, mock interviews, and resume workshops whenever possible in order to continue growing and developing those critical skills that’ll put you ahead.
I know everyone, it’s a significant amount of information but extremely important for all students to ponder and understand. Hopefully, this advice benefits you in a massive way and brought you value! If you did enjoy the article and received some new-found knowledge out of it, feel free to give Karolina a shout out on Facebook or Instagram using the links below.
Also, I want to thank you all for taking the time to read this! Truly, it means a lot to me! If you know anyone that could benefit from this content then I’d highly appreciate it if you’d share this article using one of the buttons on the left-hand side of the page! Once again, thanks for reading! Stay positive!