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Are you a college sophomore? Use these tips to prepare for your career while you are in school.

If you are pursuing a college degree to gain the skills employers want, keep in mind that getting good grades is not enough to impress most employers. Follow the strategies listed below to better prepare and promote yourself to prospective employers.

1. Get some work experience

One of the important determining factors that many hiring managers take into consideration is previous experience of any candidate. Any professional work experience will help your applicant profile. Ideally, your work experience began two years before you’ve started college. However, like many sophomores, that is not the case.

You can present a professional edge by interning and/or obtaining a job through Federal Work Study. Pay attention to what kind of work you enjoy doing and you don’t like to narrow down job possibilities and interests. Even if you don’t start out with your dream job, there is plenty of time to work, gain knowledge, and find out what it is you that you actually like to do.

2. Don’t be afraid to try something new or share your ideas

As a federal work study student or intern, you might gain skills and experience that will enable you to have the next idea for a startup or mobile application.

We are all unique and bring different ideas to the table and management might not be able to look at a project, job task or solution from every angle. While you might not aim to be president of a large company, learn as much as possible and don’t be afraid to share your unique perspective.

3. Network

Find out how other professionals are presenting themselves over the web and in person. Create a profile on professional social networking platforms, start blogging and gaining connections through social media. Go to professional networking events in your local area to network with current and previous professionals. 

Your first position may come from a referral. Therefore, you have to learn to find ways to prove yourself as trustworthy and show you can follow directions.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

No one knows everything both in school and in the workplace. As you began to gain experience, don’t be afraid ask questions on things you may not understand. It is important to learn how processes work especially if you’d like to gain valuable work related skills and experience. As you ask questions and begin to understand how to perform the duties of your job, you’ll learn how to provide solutions and be successful at implementing them.

5. Take initiative

The way to make your skill set indispensable in the workforce is to simply become a problem solver. Find out the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats of your job and find a solution. Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond to present yourself as a valuable employee. Just make sure that you research, practice and are prepared when you do. Whatever you set your mind to, make sure to do your absolute best. Excellence will set you apart in school and in the workforce.