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The more time progresses, the more we realize we need to continue to become more qualified to obtain employment in EVERY career field. Having a college GPA of 4.0 is great, but if that’s all you have, employers will not see you as valuable of an asset as someone with a 3.0 and a dynamic resume.  Many people say the time they spent in college was time where they “worked hard and played hard.” Do not let employers assume you spent all of your time at the library and the bar! Believe me when I tell you, they will not be impressed.

John Belushi College Sweatshirt

John Belushi in the shirt he made famous in the movie "Animal House" (picture from belushi.com)

Oftentimes people find it difficult to get a job out of college when they do not have any experience outside the classroom. Even though you were a fulltime student for the past four years, employers still expect to see new college graduates with a list of accomplishments that reflective a productive four years in college, including (and maybe especially) those outside of the classroom. Here are a few things they are expecting from you:

GET AN INTERNSHIP:

Many of my peers from college, who had the most trouble finding jobs, were those who did not have internships! As an Independent College Consultant and High School Counselor, I make many of my students promise me they will obtain experience in an internship position before graduating from college. The more competitive you career field is, the more important your internship experience is. Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” Unfortunately many times, this can be completely true. Many college students are lucky enough to receive jobs in the company they interned with. Internships, in that way, can be a fantastic way to “get your foot in the door!” Contrastingly, your career field may allow for the most growth and learning through first-hand, professional field experience. Every medical professional I have ever known says they only touch up what they need to know in the classroom. They all attest that working in the field is where they learn the most valuable knowledge.

TAKE CLASSES YOUR DAD DOESN’T APPROVE OF:

Let’s just say you are an Accounting major. Most likely, much of your time in class will be spent learning about business theories and crunching numbers. Let’s also say your dad does not approve of Psychology as a career choice for any of his children and would not allow you to take any courses in that field in high school, but you have a burning passion to learn more. Guess what! Not only is it a great opportunity to diversify your course load and learn something fun, but it makes you a better-rounded applicant! Living and breathing Accounting can be perfectly satisfying to some, but others need a chance to spread their wings and learn about worldly topics outside their major. Pick your electives wisely because you have the opportunity to have a lot of fun, all while learning a lot more about yourself in the process!

MAKE MONEY:

It’s unfortunate, but many college graduates get their first job at twenty-two years old, right out of college. While it is not impossible to get a job right out of college with no previous employment experience, it is harder. Employers want to see that you were able to perform in a work setting in a responsible and professional manner. Sure a letter of recommendation from a former professor is good, but one from a former employer can be even better. You previous employer can attest to your work ethic in a different way than your professor can. Sure, you are motivated in the classroom, but are you motivated at your place of employment? Of course obtaining a job in a field that is close to your intended career is best, but if not, any other job can be great too.

START A CLUB:

When employers are looking at your resume, they are looking at it in many ways similar to a college admissions committee. High school students are always trying to build their resume by volunteering in the community, joining clubs, playing sports, attending leadership conferences, but oftentimes students stop these activities in college. Many people do not realize that employers want to see you KEEP THIS UP. They want to know how you spent your four years in college. However, if an employer can look at your resume and see that you took the initiative to stay active, be creative, and (most of all) leave a legacy behind at your school, man, will they be impressed! If you have a huge passion for chess and your school does not have a chess club- START ONE! In a place with thousands people, there are bound to be others with the same burning love for chess! Not only will you get to have fun and meet people with similar interests as you, but employers will see you as a leader and a go-getter! And that is how you take your resume from good to DYNAMIC!

STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE:

College is a great time to travel for cheap! Not only can students find discounted flights, but you can participate in academic programs that are domestic or abroad. If you are interested in politics, many students choose to study in DC at a university while they intern for a politician or political organization, etc. Even if your school does not regularly participate in this program, many schools will allow you to participate anyway. Nonetheless, this will require a lot more work from you to seek out all of the information necessary for it to be approved. The same is true for abroad programs, but most schools nowadays already have extensive study abroad programs. Becoming more culturally aware of our world on a global scale is very important to enhance your resume AND your life!

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