Consider your school as a resource for not only academics and social life, but for work experience as well.
Not everyone knows what they want to do when they graduate, but today’s competitive job market waits for no one. Prospective employers want to see some viable work experience on recent graduates’ resumes for entry-level positions.
As a student, and in the real world, the steps you take during college can have a significant impact on what happens in the early stages of your career. Here’s a few tips that will help along the way.
Start with your major
The easiest clubs to get involved in are the ones that are closely related to your major. Students with majors that offer clear career tracks, such as accounting or nursing, might find it easier to join campus organizations that offer experiences in these fields.
If you haven’t declared a major yet, joining clubs is a great way to explore different fields. It’s also a great way to meet other students outside of class.
Try out campus media
Most schools have small media outlets that help students hone their skills. Your university may have a newspaper, radio station, television station, or all three. Though students in the communications field are urged to be involved in these kinds of clubs, don’t think that these organizations are reserved specifically for communications students. There are positions in all of these organizations that can help students with skills related to marketing, business, and organizational leadership.
Be a leader
Sometimes joining a club isn’t necessarily enough. Employers want to see that you’ve been active enough to have something to bring to the table in a professional setting. Plus, it’s a great point of reference during an interview to point to real accomplishments you’ve made in college outside of class and internships, and the easiest way to get that is usually from campus organizations.
Organizations such as your school’s student government association and programming boards are meant to give students hands-on experience in leadership positions. These students are also exposed to a professional working environment at an early stage, which can help prepare them for future career paths.
Find what you’re passionate about
Sometimes college is about finding out what you don’t want to do. Starting at a college or university is a great time to put yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things. Join as many clubs as you want freshman year to see what you like, then back out of the ones that don’t interest you enough so you can make an impact in the areas you care about.
This is a better than joining a bunch of organizations to then struggle to stay on top of classes — thereby spreading yourself too thin.
Look for a work study position
Many schools offer work study jobs as a part of financial aid packages. These positions are great opportunities to gain work experience while earning a few extra dollars or chipping away at costly tuition. These positions differ with each institution, but they can range from tutoring classmates to working in the cafeteria or assisting faculty.
Colleges are much more than schools, they’re little communities. It’s up to the student to take the initiative, and make the most out of the experience. It’s easy to leave school after four years doing the bare minimum, but it pays off in the long run to start building a resume from day one.
Fortenbury, J. (2014, March 8). Is Federal Work Study A Good Way to Pay Toward Graduation? Retrieved October 13, 2014, from USA Today
To Get Your Resume Into That Yes Pile Get Involved On Campus Right Away. (2010, November 10). Retrieved October 13, 2014, from USA Today
What Employers Look For. (n.d.). Retrieved October 13, 2014, from CUNY.edu