Back to school means Get To Work!


It’s fall and it’s time to head back to school…. AND get to work!

As any professional will tell you, getting an education is important, but not as important as getting perspective.  I remember my first job out of school and I was shocked by two things – first, I didn’t learn as much as I should have – especially those skills needed to actually complete the job.  Second, I was surprised how the content I learned actually applied to real-life situations.  It wasn’t until I was placed in a situation where I had to make the jump from classroom to implementation that it clicked – “Oh, I guess I do have to write reports for something other than class credit.”

Most schools will teach you the info, but not the application of the info.  For example, schools can teach you to write, but how many teach you to write a properly formatted memo?  Many schools will teach you speaking skills, but how many teach you how to communicate one on one with someone else to negotiate a contract?  At school we learn the content, but there is no substitute for applying the skills on the job and the only way to do that is to actually get a job!

I know you’re busy and your grades are important.  I know you probably don’t need the extra cash, BUT you’ll be thankful you took that part-time job when you are looking for full-time employment after you graduate.  Working while in school does several things – here are just a few:

  • It helps you apply what you learn in school
  • It helps you learn what you didn’t learn in school but need to know
  • It tells employers that you have some experience
  • It shows that you’re not afraid to work (believe me this is more important than you can imagine)
  • It gives you a chance to be accountable to someone else
  • It gives you the chance to interview
  • It builds a list of quality references
  • It helps you network
  • It could lead to a permanent job opportunity
  • It helps you figure out what you like and don’t like
  • It forces you to manage your time better
  • It gives you perspective!

Getting the job I want is difficult – I can’t get the job I want

So what?! Take the job you can get, put your “all” into it and get the most out of it you can.  You’ll be amazed at where it leads you.  Also, regardless of how important you deem the job to be, remember that this job is very important to your employer.  This means you need to practice those skills that are going to make you indispensable to your next employer.  Those skills are:

  • Showing up on time
  • Following through on a commitment
  • Following directions
  • Being appropriate in appearance and actions
  • Helping your employer be successful
  • Being honest
  • Being trustworthy
  • Communicating successfully

Don’t wait until your senior year to start worrying about a job.  Those that focus on employment early in their school career will have a far superior chance at getting a full-time job.  Not only will it be easier to get a job, but you’ll already have the needed perspective to set you ahead of your peers fighting for the same job.