Soon many of you will be starting or returning to college. Your first priority is to concentrate on your studies, but one of your other priorities should be looking ahead to when you join the workforce. This day may arrive earlier than you expect if you are working your way through college, taking required or independent internships, or hoping to serve as a teacher’s aide or laboratory assistant.
Regardless of how closely your current work (if any) relates to your future career, you want to start thinking about how you will present yourself as a valuable employee after you graduate college.
In terms of your resume, you should try to build credentials in the following areas:
- Work Experience: If you can find employment that relates closely to your future career, grab it. However, any work experience is valuable because it shows your discipline, teamwork, and value to a previous employer.
- Achievements: Keep track of your college achievements, especially completion of a presentation, practicum, thesis, or project related to your field. Also keep note of any awards or scholarships you receive. They help to differentiate you from the crowd of job applicants. Team projects are just as valuable as independent projects.
- Leadership and Teamwork: Join and participate in a campus organization. Try for a position on a board, committee, or executive council, to hone and demonstrate your leadership skills.
- Knowledge and Skills: Keep a list of the college courses that relate most directly to your future career. You want to show on your resume that you come with knowledge in your field and have met the educational requirements.
- References and Referrals: Talk to your professors and your current employers. They are excellent sources of references and may also be excellent sources of referrals—if they know you.
When it is time to write your resume, remember that your college’s career office is focused on creating resumes for on-campus recruiters. In the wider world, those resumes are inadequate at best because they do not account for the hiring procedures at companies (such as the use of electronic Applicant Tracking Systems). Please contact Robin’s Resumes® for help with your resume.