“Get Involved! ..How to Make Your Resume Something Employers Want to Look at…

What’d you do today? Wake up, eat, go to class, study, go to another class, eat again, study a little more, sleep – rinse, wash, and repeat.  If this is at all like your daily routine of just going to class and studying as a college student, STOP! It’s time to shape your college life into an experience that will pay off for you, literally.  Today, college graduates are competing not only based on grades, but extracurricular activities, leadership positions, and work experience. 

Companies want to hire students who already have some of the (transferable) skills they’ll need to do the job they’re interviewing for.  Need some? Here’s how to get ‘em…

Extracurricular activities

Getting involved in activities outside of your classroom time is the first place to start.  Get involved in one of the following…

  • Student organizations
    • Academic, interest, Greek, graduate, service, honor society, religious, or political
    • Athletic groups
      • School teams, intramural, club, or interest

Choose wisely.  Part of the basis of your decision for which activities you spend your time with should depend on your future plans as a student and for beginning a career.  The experience you gain from your extra involvement should be easily turned into skills that you could apply to a potential job.  For example, a Marketing major could join a business student organization that needs help with its marketing ideas.  That student’s experience of actually implementing their marketing knowledge and skills outside of the classroom will be the bragging point of their experience when they’re sitting in an interview for that marketing associate position right out of college.  As for athletic groups, these experiences can be transferred to an employment setting by the fact that you’ve worked on a team, added value (by winning), while working together toward a common goal.  Whichever extracurric.  you choose, be sure you think ahead of the experience that you’ll need in your future career, and go get it. 

Leadership positions

Employers want to know that you can be both a leader and a follower.  They want be able to trust that you will contribute to their team, and that they can also delegate responsibility to you.  In other words, be a leader now, in order to be chosen as a leader later.  Through becoming involved in extracurricular activities, the opportunities to gain leadership experience will open to you naturally – take-on those roles and prove your ability to lead.  For instance, a rugby player’s teammate may ask him or her to organize the team practices for the spring semester – that’s leadership! Later on, during their interview, that same rugby player will be able to answer the terrifying question, “Tell me about a time when you were responsible for others’ success.”  The transferable skills that company recruiters want to see on your resume include:  motivating others, training, problem solving, decision-making, etc.  – all skills you’ll gain through leadership positions. 

Work experience

I’ve seen many seniors’ resumes without any kind of “Work Experience” section at all.  Don’t follow this trend, and make time to become experienced in a working environment.  Some opportunities as a college student to gain work experience include:

  • Part-time employment
    • On-campus
    • Off-campus
    • Self-employment

Doesn’t every college student need more money? Thinking it might be impossible to juggle classes and a job? Don’t have a car on campus? No worries.  There’s a solution to everything.  It’s possible to make time for a part-time job and do well in all your classes; it’s just about time management and planning.  Find a job that only needs you on the weekends, a job that only requires you to work twelve hours a week, or even a seasonal job during the holidays and summer vacations.  Earning some kind of work experience to put on your resume will be invaluable; plus, it’ll most likely get you the position over that senior who has never work a day in their life.  There is even jobs on-campus for those of you who don’t drive.  If you cannot land a part-time job on- or off-campus, try self-employment.  Become a dog/house/baby-sitter, offer website design services to non-profit organizations, something to show you know what it means to add value to a cause. 

So, there it is.  All the reasons, and ways, you should get involved during your college experience and give employers a reason to look at your resume.  Don’t wait until sophomore or senior year, do it now.  An employer would never turn down a college graduate because of too much experience. 

Until next time….

-Rachel Williams

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