December 11th, 2013 by schoolbound
Attending school and getting a degree is the most important but also just the first step in career preparation. While in school you are submersing yourself in your major and learning all you can about the ins and outs of that subject, history and field of work. But realistically you should always keep in mind that college is a bubble and there is a lot to learn, some hard lessons, out there in the working world.
One of the first lessons you will learn after graduation is how competitive and difficult it can be to land a job. When applying for a position you will be asked to prepare a resume of your experience to submit with your application, as well as a cover letter to describe that experience. What experience??? This is where you sell yourself, explain why you should be chosen over all of the other applicants, and what sets you apart from the pack. And this is where you could possibly draw a complete blank……
So how do you write a resume or cover letter if you have no job experience? And being a new graduate, what kind of experience does a recruiter look for or expect from you? Having on the job experience right out the gate from college WILL in fact set you apart from the rest of the pack. This is one way to ensure you have a better chance at landing that job than the next guy. So how do you gain work experience while still attending classes?
Here are a few ideas to consider while still in school that may make you a more viable applicant once you graduate. Any and all of these look GREAT on a resume and they give you something to talk about in your cover letter as well as in interviews.
Volunteer – There is ALWAYS a need for volunteers for any variety of places and organizations. The great thing about volunteering is that you can do it around your busy schedule and when you have time to devote.
Camp Counselor – Summer is a great time to gain work experience and the more responsibility you have the better it looks on your resume.
Tutor – Any type of mentorship is always a great asset to have in your experience. It shows you can lead and teach,
Community or Church event organizer – If you are already involved in a community it is easily accessible to get involved. If you can organize and help launch an event it is always a great way to show your management faculties.
Fund drives – Helping to raise money is a great way to show you know what it takes to sell, market and acquire funds.
Assist at a shelter – Whether this is an animal shelter or a homeless shelter, battered women or children, all shelters can use your help in any capacity. this shows compassion and community involvement.
Internships – Finding a paid or unpaid internship in your major is a fantastic way to show long term interest, devotion and can also give you a test run to see you have made the right career choice.
Lead a campus study group – Another way of showing organizational, managerial and mentorship skills.
Big Brother/ Big Sister – Another great way to show compassion and community involvement as well as getting some personal reward by helping a child.
Join professional organizations – This is a great addition to a resume and can also help you network for internships and positions post graduation.
Attend workshops – Adding to your knowledge base and networking are some of many benefits to taking a short workshop in an interest area.
When writing your resume, cover letter and thinking about interviewing try to focus on the lessons you learned during these experiences. If you directly affected turnout for a fund raiser, helped raise a certain amount of money, helped tutor a student to pass their final exam, anything you accomplished in any of these roles are all talking points to highlight. And keep in mind that all of these situations are opportunities for networking and making connections that could lead to job opportunities in the future.