Pickens Technical College’s Executive Internship program is a unique experience for high school students, not only because it helps them get a jump on their secondary education and their eventual career, but also because it teaches students how to succeed in any professional setting and career, not just the one they’re involved with.
The idea is to prepare high school students with the skills necessary to build their careers the way they want to by giving them options to branch out and change their minds. Even if you’re not sure about the company you’re interning for or the industry you’ve found yourself in, you’re still getting the skills you need to pursue another potential career.
Adding to the many skills you’re learning about career development, building your personal brand, and providing yourself with opportunities to advance are these three tips to help boost your career after you’ve won your first job:
Think Like a Job-Seeker
After you’ve landed a job in your dream industry, you can’t get complacent. Think about what you would be doing if you were still looking for a job. Sure, you’d be applying to jobs, scheduling interviews, etc., but you also need to advance your personal brand and your professional skill set to help find opportunities. Focus on being proactive and continuing to advance your job skills and show that you’re an achiever to not only potential future employers but also your current employers. When they notice you trying to advance your career on your own, chances are they’ll help you and provide you with resources to avoid losing you.
Learn to Negotiate, and Don’t Be Afraid
Negotiation is never easy, and if you’re like me, you’d rather just avoid the negotiating and keep working. But, there will come a time when you will have to negotiate with your employers about issues big and small. Saying the right things and getting to the right offers are what can make the difference between getting that promotion and not getting it. Negotiation skills are also incredibly useful if you need to change jobs.
Read negotiation tips by the experts, and use your co-workers as resources. How did they get what they wanted or needed from management?
Go Above and Beyond
You don’t need to take over every operation of a company on your first day, but it doesn’t hurt to think beyond your pay grade. Try to gain an understanding of what your supervisors or managers are trying to accomplish and how they accomplish it. Not only will this help you understand how to delight your superiors, catch their attention, and advance, when it comes time for a promotion, your managers already know you can handle extra responsibilities.
Learn as much as you can from your Executive Internship, including how to build your brand and your employers’ brand, know what skills or certifications you’ll need to rise in your industry, and keep your eyes on your future.