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How to get ready for your next career move while you’re still earning your degree

Olivia poses proudly wearing her graduation sash

Four ways to prepare for your next career move

By Carly Johansen
Oct. 23, 2020

There’s one question you’ve probably gotten from your family and friends since you started telling people you were pursuing your degree online.

“So, what’s next?”

It might fill you with hope, dread or a mixture of the two, but one thing is for sure: It’s best to have a plan.

We caught up with Oregon State University alumna, Olivia Mercie Langley, to discuss how she forged her path to a successful career after earning her bachelor’s degree in digital communication arts, a program delivered online by OSU Ecampus. Langley, an account manager for the design firm Modo, Inc., had some pretty great tips. Her advice boiled down into four simple action items:

Find your focus

By earning a digital communication arts degree, Olivia was able to define her own path, but she kept one eye on the future when selecting elective courses. She found courses that fed into each other and helped her create a vision for what came next.

“It’s important to be in tune with what exactly you want to get out of your classes,” she says.

Explore your passions

“During my time at Oregon State, I did my best to diversify the communities I was involved in,” Olivia says. She found involvement opportunities that resonated with her values and made her résumé stand out when she decided to advance her career.

For you, this could include joining student clubs, engaging in research projects or pursuing an internship. Ultimately, involvement outside of the virtual classroom provides an opportunity to set yourself apart from other job applicants after you complete your degree.

Network, network, network

You’ve probably heard this one before, but Olivia makes a great point: “Networking can be about friendships and finding commonalities with the people you work with or meet.” By building relationships around shared interests, you’re able to turn to those connections when determining the next step in your career path. Olivia also suggests that you “keep in touch with instructors whose course content resonates with you” when you’re building your network.

Keep asking questions

When preparing for what comes after earning your degree, Olivia suggests asking, “How can I be a valuable resource for a company that might hire me?”

And, keep that learning mindset long after you’ve finished your degree. “Don’t be afraid to ask an employer about professional development opportunities that will continue your education,” says Olivia.

Always consider what you can do to make yourself more well-rounded in your field and grow into the role you want next.

Olivia’s DCA degree has helped her hone her leadership skills in a growing industry. And, through quality coursework and an OSU network, she’s proof that earning a degree can lead to the meaningful career of your dreams.

Get started. Learn more about earning your digital communication arts degree online.

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