We all like the freedom that comes with our university days, for most of us this marks our first full time away from our parents or guardians. In the midst of all that freedom and enjoyment, we sometimes forget the life that comes after that…

Yes!

The one that we all desire but never quite prepared for.

I chose to go with the penultimate year because who doesn’t want to enjoy a good time in University?  They say time flies when you’re having fun and as much as you don’t want to stop, preparation is key. I believe your penultimate year is the time to make amends, re-strategise if need be and start putting your best foot forward if you haven’t already been doing so.

Here are the top 3  things I think should feature on your to-do list in your penultimate year:

1. Pursuing a career in line with my degree or not. The current labour market no longer relies solely on your degree as a prerequisite to employment in a particular field. Yes, part of the joy of the 21st century is that you can become a writer without studying English or a banker from a Science background, provided you can prove your abilities. Deciding early enough will help you take advantage of opportunities in this desired career path, to build and develop the skills required. From internships to blogging to volunteering, nothing beats a good experience.

2. Soft skills. This is what differentiates you from the million and one other applicants. Don’t be confused good grades are still very important but your soft skills gives you an opportunity to sell yourself asides from what your certificate says. Find ways to acquire and exhibit these skills – from joining and participating in an association of your choice to enrolling to acquire certain skills that require mastery.

3. Networking. Yes, networking but this time with your university friends. I hear you say you say ‘I already have friends’, but what about the ones a level or year above you? Remember some of them will get into the job market before you do and this makes your work a tad bit easier as you can ride on their experiences. They get to tell you the real deal compared to the first year trainees you see at career events, who are now representing and speaking on behalf of the company.

I’ll like to hear from you, which tip is currently on your list and why? Think we’re missing out an important tip – please share in the comment section.