A career in business can mean many things: moving back to your hometown to run your family’s restaurant, creating your own startup or becoming the CEO of a global corporation. Maybe you aren’t quite sure which of these possibilities most appeals to you. You can still get started now, whether you are a high school student or you’ve been working for a while and you want to change careers. The tips below can help you prepare and succeed.
Think About Your Focus
You don’t have to make a decision about this right away, but if you don’t have a particular sector or career path in mind, you should start thinking about it now. Maybe you want to go into accounting, or perhaps you’re more interested in management. Read some books on business and talk to people who are already working in the business world to get a better handle on what the possibilities are.
Get Your Bachelor’s Degree
Your next step is to go to school, or to go back to school if you already got your degree but it is in a very different subject. Choose a university that has a good business school. Remember that in addition to financial aid and any scholarships that you might earn, you could also take out student loans from a private lender. While it is generally a good idea to stay out of debt, student loans are considered good debt because they finance important education you can utilize going forward.
Make Use of School Resources
Once you are in school, you will have access to many different resources. These include your professors, your school’s career center, your advisor and even your fellow students. There will also be student organizations that give you the opportunity to develop soft skills, such as leadership and communication. Getting an internship can provide excellent experience and networking opportunities. Be sure to explore some of the possibilities ahead of you as well. For example, have you considered going into international business? You could do a study abroad and learn a foreign language to better prepare you to work in other cultures.
Your First Job
Prepare for your first job after graduation to be somewhat less glamorous than your imagination. You’ll probably end up doing a lot of the work no one else wants to do as a new hire. Take it in good grace, and learn as much as you can. Make it clear to your boss that you are eager and ambitious, and demonstrate initiative, making suggestions and taking it on yourself to do work that needs attention. Try to anticipate what your supervisor and coworkers need from you.
Keep in mind that you have to pay your dues and that your first job out of college does not have to be your dream job. After a few months, if you feel as though you are genuinely not compatible with the company culture or the company is a bad fit in other ways, you can start looking for something else. It can be tricky to know when you should stay at a job versus moving on, but some things to look at include your chances of advancement, salary, benefits and how you feel about the company’s mission.