When you hear the word “investing” you might think about stocks and bonds or how you can transform your Starbucks addiction into a rebate program of sorts by investing in the company. But with all due respect to your fondness for Venti vanilla lattes, there’s another type of investing that’s even more important — the kind that focuses on your professional future.
Even if you are a few years away from starting an actual career, it’s really never too early to plan ahead and start laying the foundation for a solid professional future. Consider the following tips:
1. Register a domain name
If you are considering doing business online someday, registering a domain name is essential. As iGoldrush notes, a cool and catchy domain name can make all the difference between customers knowing who you are and or blending in with the sea of similar companies. If, for example, you are dreaming of following in the footsteps of your favorite coffee chain and opening your own java house, this might be the time to register a memorable coffee-themed domain name. If you think you might get into a computer-related career like designing websites or handing IT for small businesses, think of a related domain name and register it now. In many cases, you can register a name for around $8 a year, or the cost of just two of your beloved lattes.
2. Protect your identity
Once you are ready to take the plunge into your professional life, the last thing you need is to learn your fledging credit score is kaput because some yahoo stole your identity. Take the time now, before you are even thinking about applying for a small business loan or a major credit card, and sign up for an identity theft protection plan through a reputable company like LifeLock.com. Their identity theft protection plan keeps tabs on your credit score, and also watches to make sure that your good name and financial account information is not being compromised in any way. Taking steps to avoid fraud and identity theft now is a pro-active way to avoid any future issues from happening.
3. Find a mentor
A great way to invest in your professional future is to find someone who is willing to be your mentor, QuintCareers notes. This can be someone who currently works in your desired line of work or just someone who has a great work ethic and who you admire. The mentor can offer you advice, share stories about what has worked and not worked in his or her career, and help you determine what you want to do with your professional life. As a major bonus, if your mentor works for a business or company that you dream of being part of one day, he or she will probably keep you informed of job openings, and might even put in a good word or two about you to the interviewing committee. As Career Sherpa notes, getting a good job offer isn’t about luck, it’s about having connections to the right people and having a good handle on your skills and what you want to do. Working with a mentor can help you achieve these goals.
4. Invest in yourself and your skills
Another great way to invest in your professional future is to take stock in what you are really good at, as well as what you might need to fine tune a bit. For example, if you are naturally outgoing and a pretty good communicator, you might not need to take classes in communication skills before heading out in your career. But if you struggle every month to balance your checkbook and you hope to open your own small business someday, it might be wise to take a class in business accounting or finance that will help you learn the skills you’ll definitely be using later on.