Attending college can make people feel overwhelmed about their future career field, but SMU prepares their students outstandingly well for the real world! Here are a few tips to get you started!
- schedule an appointment with a hegi career counselor
The Hegi Career Center is the BEST and EFFICIENT place on campus if you’re feeling stressed about an interview, internship, or meeting. They are some of the most understanding and helpful people ever and they never judge you, or make you feel insecure for being anxious about “becoming a professional”. I have had everything from a fifteen minute conversation with a career counselor about how to email potential employers, to an hour long, tedious conversation about my responses to internship application and uncertainty with my major. No matter what problem you have, they have the power to fix it!
- The Hegi Career Center is in Hughes Trigg and an appointment can be made on Handshake
- Watch what you wear
If you’re like me and don’t know how to dress professionally, look around campus! Business students are often required to wear business professional clothes to class, so one idea is to take a second to see what other people are wearing! Just because there’s not a lot of variety with style for professional dress, there are still a tons of stores to shop at, especially close to SMU. Loft and Ann Taylor are a 7 minute drive from campus in the Northpark Mall. One of my whole issues with professional clothes, is that it feels unnatural to wear them, especially as someone who can’t even legally drink – DO NOT STRESS, if you think you don’t look like yourself, the feeling goes away and EVERYONE is just as uncomfortable in a blazer and slacks as you are at first!
- network with your professor
Amicable relationships with your teachers are always beneficial – it can change your entire class experience. At college, it can be hard to establish a genuine connection with a professor that you only see every other day, but that relationship could have the power to make or break your career. An alumni once told me, “The only reason I had a job right out of college is because my Advertising professor put in the good word for me at the advertising agency where I applied”. Classes specifically for your major are the best, because they have connections in your field all over and are always wanting to see their students succeed in a career they love so much!
- Start a linkedin
This may not be something younger students really want to think about or get started on, but this site is imperative for the professional world. One thing I really regret my freshman year was waiting to make my LinkedIn profile until start of my junior year. A lot of job interviewers will check out an applicants LinkedIn, most often checking to see if the applicant’s profile is “verified”, meaning the applicant has 500+ connections on LinkedIn. Many times, if the applicant does not have 500 connections, they will not be considered for the job. I really recommend getting a head start on this to have as much potential success in your career!
- The Hegi Career Center can help you make a profile and take free headshot photos for your profile picture
- Apply to be a hegi career leader
The Hegi Career Leader program is a selective and dedicated program for SMU students that helps them gain early access and knowledge to career skills and networking opportunities. It does require a good amount of free time, but it an excellent honor and program. Members are required to attend 6 Professional Development information sessions and Employer Facing events. Professional Development workshops range from “How to make friends in a new city” to “How to interact with Employers at Career Fairs”. Employer Facing events may include dinners and networking events with SMU alumni or job info sessions for specific companies around Dallas that come and meet with students on campus.
These few tips were a lot of things I wish I was told during my freshman year of college. Hope these help you feel ready for success!