From learning what to say at a job interview to learning how to be financially fit, getting prepared for the future is vital to your success.
But what if you’re unsure how to prepare for college or a career? Or what if you’ve started some prep work, but you’re still left wondering what you need to do next?
That’s what this quick guide is here for.
In this article, we’ll take a look at five ways you can prepare yourself for a bright future — before and after graduation.
Further Your Education With Open Education Resources
Open Education Resources (OER) are educational resources that are free and easy to access. From helping you expand your knowledge on a current topic to helping you learn a brand new topic, OERs are research havens.
OERs typically come in the form of databases, platforms, or online search engines. For instance, platforms like StuDocu provide access to millions of online course materials that students use to learn about topics and skills.
An important thing to note about OERS is they don’t function like Google and other search engines. Although some OERs look just like traditional search engines, the resources they pull from aren’t the same.
While Google spits out the most relevant search-friendly page requests, OERs spit out educational resources like lecture notes and study guides. In other words, if you’re looking for a quick fact — like what panda bears eat — stick to Google. But if you’re looking to do a deep dive on all things panda bears, use an OER.
Learn How to be Financially Fit
Financial wellness is just as important as emotional, mental, and physical wellness.
From qualifying for a mortgage to buying your first home and making sure you can pay all of your bills on time, being financially fit significantly affects your quality of life.
Here are some quick tips on building financial wellness:
- Learn how to budget: Learning how to budget is vital to paying bills on time, keeping food in the fridge, and accounting for unfixed expenses.
- Learn how to invest: Learning how to invest is one of the best ways to create passive income and savings. Too young to buy stocks? Ask an adult if they’d be willing to help you invest in kid stocks.
- Learn how to pay off debt: Learning fast ways to get out of debt is crucial to paying off college loans and credit card debt as soon as possible.
- Build a curveball account: Think of a curveball account as your emergency account — if anything goes awry, your curveball account is there to keep you covered. Aim for $500.
- Build a savings account: Your savings account is like a long-term savings hub you’ll use to save for a car, down payment on a home and other necessary long-term expenses.
Learn How to Start a Business
Not everyone decides to go the traditional way of finding a job after college, which is absolutely fine. As it turns out, many great businesses were built by college students.
If entrepreneurship is something you’d be better suited for, there are great resources out there on the ins and outs of starting and registering a business. But, even if you never start your own business — or even if you have no desire to start one — learning entrepreneurial skills benefits everyone. Entrepreneurial skills give you an added advantage, from knowing how to juggle multiple clients to learn how to lead.
Here are some additional benefits of learning how to start a business:
- Independence: Learning how to be self-sufficient is a crucial skill employer keep an eye out for
- Networking skills: Learning how to build connections is essential to building future partnerships and career opportunities
- Agility: Employers look for employees who can pivot even in the most extreme circumstances
- Flexibility: Employers love employees who can pick up where someone left off, are open to various opportunities, and can remain flexible when needed
Don’t Be Afraid to Share Personal Passions
Long gone are the days where you show up to a job interview robotically spouting out your accomplishments. These days, employers are also interested in who you are — not just what you do.
While you may think your future boss could care less about your snorkeling adventures in Spain, that’s far from the truth.
Nelson Sherwin of PEO Companies says:
“At the end of the day, the conversation you have with the candidate is the same, but I would advise hiring managers to pay extra attention to the candidates and try to gauge what kind of person they are.”
And Halley Knigge, Director of Co-op Communications at REI, says:
“We are not corporate robots — and if the last 1.5 years has taught us anything, it’s that sharing more of ourselves can be hugely positive. This month, I’ve been reading A LOT of LinkedIn profiles as I’ve been hiring for my two internal communications roles, and some of y’all’s are amazing. I read one today that advertised the person’s love of houseplants and reading alongside their professional expertise, and that’s the one that stood out the most. I hope I get the chance to talk to them about their work experience AND tell them about my brand-new hoya. So I rewrote my profile, too. It’s long-winded, which is on-brand. But I enjoyed injecting a little fun at the end, and I encourage you to do the same.”
In other words, employers are looking for more than just job qualifications. They’re looking for a real human with real personal passions.
So whether it’s sharing your avid love of cycling, baking banana bread, or reading Stephen King novels, don’t be afraid to share your passions with future employers.
Learn Everything You Can About Cybersecurity
In today’s cyberworld, no digital user can afford to ignore possible cybersecurity threats.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, cybersecurity threats are malicious attack threats given by an individual or organization attempting to:
- Corrupt data
- Steal confidential information
- Gain access to a network
- Destroy computer systems
Whether you’re taking an online exam or working for a company that requires you to use technology of any kind, learning how to prevent and manage cybersecurity threats is pivotal to your future success.
Here are a few cybersecurity safety tips to keep in mind.
Always Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) When Online
A VPN acts like a protected tunnel within another network to keep your data safe. It’s especially important to use a VPN when accessing worldwide content or using a public connection at a coffee shop, library, or on campus.
Install Virus Protection Software on All Devices
There’s nothing worse than having a system that gets infected with a virus when you’re in the middle of an important project. Use virus protection software to protect against phishing, malware, ransomware, and viruses on hardware.
Stay Up-to-Date With the Latest Cybersecurity Trends
Whether it’s attending a quick webinar or signing up for a cybersecurity newsletter, stay ahead of cybercriminals by staying up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity trends.
From learning what to say at a job interview to learning how to be financially fit, being prepared for the future is vital to your success.
By furthering your education, getting financially fit, learning entrepreneurial skills, showing your passions, and learning about cybersecurity, you’ll be on your way to a bright future.