5 Ways to Shape Your Career in College

5 Ways to Shape Your Career in College

shape your career

Wilson at the Job Market Maker office in Charleston, S.C.

By the time Taylor Wilson ’13 graduated, he had a College of Charleston communication degree, twelve months of experience as a business consultant and a years worth of local business contacts under his belt. Wilson, who had become a networking pro during his time at the College, scored an awesome job at local startup Job Market Maker, which has developed a four-way multisided platform to match job seekers with job openings. Wilson met Joseph Hanna, CEO of Job Market Maker, through a contact he made after getting involved in the local sailing community.

Now, looking back on college from the ‘real world,’ he offers advice on how to become the ideal candidate for your dream job while you’re still in college.

1. Be outgoing (you just might meet your next boss).

Sometimes, you just have to get out of the house (or residence hall) for lunch. Wilson did, and it led to his internship with Hewitt Emerson, a creative business consulting firm in Charleston.

“I was eating lunch at a restaurant downtown and listening to the owner of the restaurant explain to another patron that the restaurant had been launched by his consulting company, Hewitt Emerson Inc., and they were looking for an intern,” Wilson said. “When the patron from the bar got up to go use the bathroom, I introduced myself to the owner, and told him that he shouldn’t hire the other guy as an intern, he should hire me instead.”

2. Communication is key.

You don’t have to be a communication major to understand that effective speaking and writing will advance your career no matter what field you’re in.

Wilson explained, “The courses that helped me most in my career were the Advanced Public Speaking and Advanced Debate classes. Being able to stand in front of a group of people and clearly communicate your ideas is an essential skill.”

RELATED: Learn more about the communication major at the College of Charleston

3. Make mistakes early.

Internships are invaluable for many reasons, not the least of which is the opportunity to make mistakes with relatively few consequences. “The most interesting piece of advice I received in college was, ‘You’re going to make a lot of mistakes. Start making them early on so you can learn from them and get them out of the way,’” Wilson said.

4. Take advantage of the community.

Whether you want to stay in Charleston after graduation or not, while you’re here you have the opportunity to learn about countless industries from well-respected professionals. Often, if you put yourself out there by reaching out to local industry leaders, you’ll find that they’re happy to help you through an informational interview, an internship or just a conversation.

Wilson advised, “Get out into the community and start getting involved. Look for a mentor – someone who does whatever you’re passionate about – and figure out how you can get involved. Then learn everything you can from him or her.”

5. Don’t be afraid to start something new.

Startups are popping up all over the country, and there’s an especially high concentration of them in Charleston. If you find a startup that interests you, don’t be afraid to take the plunge. Wilson did, and he learned more than he ever expected to in his first year out of college.

“I was the first person Joe hired to work on Job Market Maker and it’s been an amazing ride. The most exciting aspect of working in a startup is every day you face a whole new set of challenges,” he said. “To work at a start up, you have to be self-motivated, goal oriented, and you have to want to succeed. Don’t forget that a positive attitude, a willingness to learn, and a passion for the project will take you further than your resume can.”

Coming out of college with his communication degree and a business mindset, Wilson was excited about working for a company focused on streamlining the hiring process. He finds the challenges at Job Market Maker, a platform setting out to redefine how people connect with careers, to be exciting and fulfilling.

RELATED: Keep up with Job Market Maker as it moves to a public Beta phase this November