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Why college students need to be entrepreneurial with their careers

Expose yourself to relevant activities outside your school to gain new knowledge and experiences that you can eventually use to land a job or start your own business.
By Dan Schawbel |


Students are starting to realize quickly that they can't rely on their college career service centers to help them find employment. Colleges are under more pressure than ever to turn degrees into jobs for their students but something isn't adding up. A big number of the recent grads are either unemployed or underemployed. 



Related: Why 'Gen Z' may be more entrepreneurial than 'Gen Y'


Students need to have an entrepreneurial mindset in order to get hired upon graduation--or if they want to start their own business. Here are five things every student can do to make the most out of college and be best positioned for success:



1. Attend as many events as possible on and off campus.

If your career center is offering an event on campus, you should go. Typically, they offer alumni speakers, panels or meet and greets that could be extremely valuable to you. From events, you can learn more about your industry and connect with professionals who can help you get jobs.


You should also use sites like and in order to explore outside events in your city that are relevant to your field. This way, you are getting out there and making connections that you can leverage when you're looking for a job upon graduation.




2. Get your career service center to introduce you to alumni in your field.

Instead of visiting your career center and asking them to just review your resume and cover letter, you should ask them to connect you directly with alumni. Their alumni database is their most prized asset and, as a student, you need to leverage it because it will make your life a lot easier.


Related: Hiring a 'newbie' vs. an industry pro



3. Register for free or low-cost online courses to boost your skills.

There are numerous online courses that can teach you the skills you need in order to get jobs. Coursera has free online courses brought to you by the nation's leading Universities. offers free courses, specifically in math and science and does the same.



4. Collect as many experiences as you can before graduation.

This means internships, freelance gigs and apprenticeships. Whatever is going to translate into work experience for you, you should sign up for. By getting your hands dirty in different projects, as different companies, you start to figure out what you want to do and what you don't want to do for a job when you graduate. It will also give you a track record and connections that could potentially turn into jobs.



5. Start your own company.

If you aren't getting internships, then think about creating your own through entrepreneurship. Two years ago, we asked college recruiters about the skills they look for when hiring recent graduates and about a third said "entrepreneurship skills."



Through entrepreneurship, students can learn about how businesses operate, and make additional money to help pay of their loan debt. Who knows, their company could be successful and they won't need to apply for a position upon graduation.


Related: 3 things you don't know about intrapreneurship



Copyright © 2014 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been done by the editor.   

Photos from Flickr (audio-luci-store and mer chau)

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