As an undergrad, you are working to get your degree, but the real end game is to get a career after the grueling four-year Herculean Labor. While your primary concern should be your classes and GPA, you have to keep your future in the back of your mind, which means it is crucial to build your résumé while working on your undergrad. While collaborating with ESU’s Career Development Center, I have come up with a few pieces of sage (or, at least, I think it’s sage) advice for students to begin building their résumé in college.
1. Try new things and expand your horizons.
This piece of advice isn’t just for your résumé. College is about finding yourself and trying new things. By getting out of your comfort zone, you can identify your likes and dislikes, and you can discover what limitations you do and don’t have. You can develop new interests you never thought you’d have and become more well-rounded as a person, which will make you a more useful employee in the future. You never know when a skill may come in handy.
2. Learn from every experience.
Don’t take any experience, job, or otherwise, for granted. There is always something to pick up, some skill to learn, even from a seemingly useless job like say, a pizza place. Even if a job, volunteer opportunity, or internship may not directly pertain to your future plans, you never know what kind of hidden skills you may pick up.
3. Create an online presence you’re proud of.
That means you, social media junkies. However, that doesn’t mean posting half naked photos from Barstool. Your online presence has to be professional. Sign up for a LinkedIn account and similar social networks to promote yourself. Also, think about creating an online portfolio or blog that showcases any work you have done in your field. Many believe that completely deleting yourself from the Internet is the way to go, but employers only find this suspicious. Use your presence to promote yourself in a crisp, professional manner instead of a drunken college image. Also, clean up your other social media and google yourself to ensure your future employers don’t see that less than classy Spring Break photo.
4. Get as many internships and volunteer experiences as you can.
Don’t just stop at one. Even if you’ve done one as part of your degree, you can also participate in one after you graduate. If you can’t find employment right away, an internship is an excellent way to make contacts in your profession and, of course, it looks fantastic on that pesky résumé. So, you may have to live at home for a little bit longer. At least, you know, the mattress is soft.
5. Join clubs and groups that relate to your future profession.
ESU has many choices, so peruse the list on the website and see which ones intrigue you the most that will also help you in the future. Honor societies are also a wonderful way to spice up your résumé.
6. Create a dynamic résumé and cover letter.
While I can probably write a whole other article about putting together a résumé and cover letter, I will say this. Write everything down and visit the excellent people at the career center and the Writing Studio. That will be your best line of defense. But, while you are collecting jobs and internships like baseball cards, remember to have some fun, too!