Career advice for students, Take 2

This post is the second of a two-part series on career advice for college students.

Mead & Hunters around the country are joining forces with our HR team to visit their alma maters and share about opportunities at our company. We have already met many talented individuals at career fairs in Minnesota, Ohio, South Carolina, and fair

And while technical talent is great, anyone who has worked anywhere at all knows you’ll need to tap into other skills to do well in your first professional job out of college. I won’t call them “soft skills” because they are often challenging in their own right. Teens tend to learn these skills during their first jobs (I definitely had challenging moments in retail …)

Dealing with difficult people.
Speaking up in group scenarios.
Maneuvering through a learning curve.
Taking risks.
Making tough decisions.

If anything, the stakes are higher when applying these lessons in a place where you want to build a career.

With this in mind, we asked a few of our employees to share some of their tips for students who will soon be entering the workforce. (Read our tips from Take 1.) Here’s what they had to say:

“Get as many internships as possible. Being able to apply what you learn in the classroom to the workforce will better prepare you for jobs outside of college. They also can show you what areas in your field you like and don’t like. Most college students are graduating with at least one internship, so to be competitive in the job market, it would be good to have an internship or two on your resume.”
Maggie Bolton, HR Generalist

“Take pride in and ownership of the work that you do. It’s your job to ensure that the work you produce is of high quality, not the job of the people that you report to. We do quality checks because it’s good engineering practice, but never rely on someone else to catch your mistakes or less-than-complete work. That being said, you WILL make mistakes. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you learn from them.

“On a more personal note, start contributing to your retirement accounts ASAP and contribute as much as you can as early as you can. You can always make more money, but you can’t make time. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that “compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t…pays it.” Never, under any circumstances, contribute less than required to get the full company match in your 401(k), assuming you are fortunate enough to have this benefit. This is literally free money.”
Jeff Anderson, Project Engineer

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression with everyone you meet. Talk with your supervisor face-to-face about your work assignments. Your supervisor wants to hear from you, and don’t assume that your supervisor will always come to you or give you resources for your assignments. Communication via email and instant messaging are OK, but should be limited and be done only as necessary. Complete your assignments on time and within your assigned budget. If you don’t know or weren’t told your schedule and budget for your assignment, ask your supervisor before starting. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are stuck on something, or don’t know the answer. Your supervisor will welcome the questions.”
Darrell Berry, Senior Manager

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And call your mom! She misses you.”
Beth Schultz, Accounts Payable Specialist

Kathy Schumann

About the Author

Kathy Schumann connects with co-workers by sharing their stories and experiences – helping employees see how they fit into the big picture of Mead & Hunt. “I have the best job. There’s a great sense of purpose helping co-workers be engaged and challenged by their work experience,” she says. When she’s not blogging, Kathy is editing e-newsletters, building the intranet and forming Mead & Hunt running teams.

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