When we speak of investments, it leads most people to think about cash, property, stocks, or a classic car are a norm in our society. We’re less likely to talk about investments of time and energy that pay off through increased opportunity and abilities later in life. This article is all about such investments and how they can help you upgrade your current way of life. Whether you’re looking to earn more, find a place in an industry that you’ve always had your eye on, or to develop yourself as a person, the tips below will help you make some of the wisest investments possible for your future.
Any kind of experience is a lot more valuable than none at all. Just ask the hundreds of recruiters and agencies out there who, repeatedly, are forced to reject applicants based on their lack of experience. All too often in the digital age, young people and students expect to waltz from their college or university courses into a high-level full-time job, only to find themselves unemployed and job-hunting for a sustained period.
Take control of these lapses of inactivity by getting a job (any kind of job) that will give you experience. You may think some lines of work are beneath your pay grade, but if you properly consider many out-of-college jobs, they’re all opportunities to improve certain skill sets you may rely on later in life, such as:
- Secretary work: This will help you develop organizational and logistic skills.
- Café and bar work: A sure way to develop your quick thinking and people skills.
- Data entry: Get properly computer literate with these kinds of office jobs.
- Internships: They may pay little, but often you’ll be introduced to a wide variety of roles.
- Apprenticeships: the same as the above, except you’ll closely follow the wisdom of your tutor and coach.
The list goes on. Get the experience, use your time wisely, and find yourself with a full CV when it comes to applying for the job you’ve always wanted.
Study, Study, Study
Those who believe their studies end when they leave college, high school or university are mistaken. Or, rather, you are finally in command of your educational journey, and you don’t want to see it stunted indefinitely because you fail to seize the initiative to take up a new course. Instead, invest time, energy and cash into getting more qualifications under your belt, and the valuable knowledge, skills, and contacts.
You also must find a place to live and maintain an income if you’re just out of college or university. This used to mean slaving away in jobs, studying on the side, and struggling to make ends meet; in the digital age, though, it means heading online to enroll in the online course of your choice. You can even find online postgraduate courses, taught through webcam interviews and lectures, to gain that all-important top qualification that opens the gateway to only the finest roles and positions.
Some people find networking second nature, while others find it a drag. One thing’s for sure, though; if you’re hoping to place some sound investments in your future, you can do worse than getting yourself ingratiated within influential circles. The contacts you build via networking can be some of the most important people you know, both becoming firm friends, and turning to you with job roles when your most in need. But how do you invest in networking? Here are some ideas:
- Attend local events in your chosen and specialist field
- Attend more regional, national or international conferences, and wear your social hat
- Make sure you’re friendly with all staff, clients, and customers you engage with
- Use university as a networking hub, building solid relationships with promising students
- Sign up for classes and workshops to meet other like-minded and ambitious individuals
It might take a considerable amount of social energy to find and operate within these circles, but once you’ve found the right group, you never know the world of opportunities that might open up to you.
It’s true that not every job or role requires you to show a portfolio, but for many jobs, it’s an absolute necessity. Everything from designing to writing, to producing, to coding, requires you to have some work behind you to show off your skills to prospective employers. Anything of substance and quality that you can add to your portfolio will be an investment in the future job that you’ve worked so hard to get.
So, the first tip is to build your portfolio, either by getting freelance commissions or by working for free or for cut-rate prices. The other side of portfolio building is simply to make an online portfolio that you can share through a simple hyperlink. Employers appreciate this forward-thinking and common-sense approach, and it’s easier than you might think to create a bespoke portfolio online to send to employers and recruiters.
The final option is also by far the most rewarding. Traveling opens up the mind to new perspectives and provides a surprising amount of life experience that employers value within their organizations. While the advice here isn’t to pack a backpack and gallivant across the world (that may not be a sound investment) but if you have done your fair share of work and you fancy a break, a two-month period of travel can add some flavor to your resume.
All that said, it’s best that you stick to cultured and interesting destinations. Bali might be nice for its bright white beaches and lazy palms, but it will not communicate a drive, energy, curiosity or adventure to your employer. Try a more exotic, interesting and challenging destination to stand out from the crowd and wow your employer while you’re in an interview.
These tips have been put together to help you adequately plan your future. Investing in the skills, experience, and contacts you must build a successful and ambitious career that serves you long into your future.