Some students get all the breaks. They get the great summer jobs and the best internships, the best experience to get their careers started. How can you possibly compete with these lucky stiffs?
First of all, most “lucky” people have a lot more going for them than good fortune, but that’s another story for another day.
Regarding your background, a lack of concrete experience is definitely a limiting factor in many job searches. This is especially true if the firm you want to work for is too small or too busy to give you extensive training. So what can you do to demonstrate the experience you need to compete for these positions?
One seldom-exploited option is to assign yourself the kind of project that the “lucky” students gain through internships and summer jobs. For instance, even though you don’t have a summer job at an architectural firm, you can still design a building during summer break. Your sketches or blueprints are no less indicative of your skills just because you dreamed up the whole idea. If your aspirations are in the field of nutrition, write the definitive tofu cookbook. Or create a new ad campaign for an existing or fictional product. If you want to be a broker someday, use an on-line trading service to manage an imaginary $100,000 portfolio.
Sure you worked for free, and worked for yourself, but you still wound up with architectural drawings, a cookbook, an ad campaign, or investment results to show potential interviewers. Beyond your experience, you demonstrate a high level of effort, one of the Winning Characteristics all employers value. Taking the initiative to design and test a new product is a great way to differentiate yourself from your peers. What you lack on your resume, you may be able to overcome through effort an enthusiasm.
Worked hard to achieve college success, but still can’t find your dream internship that allows you to gain the experience you want or need to enter the job market? Then give yourself the assignment you want and get started!
There are very few things in life in which the difference between success and failure comes down to simply showing up. Just “being there” doesn’t typically get it done.
College is one of the places where “showing up” can make the difference for achieving college success. The reason for this is that many students don’t make it to class on a consistent basis. Given that, you can actually gain a “competitive advantage” relative to most by consistently going to class – by just physically being there.
A mentor of mine tells the story of when she was in college and how her friends knew exactly what was best for her at one point while she was in college. I thought I would share this story to give you some perspective on the importance of maintaining a school/work/personal life balance.
My mentor, Sally let’s call her, was the quintessential overachieving college student. She served in the student government, held leadership positions is numerous campus organizations, had wonderful grades, and everyone loved her. It is the college experience anyone hopes for. But with this fury of activity taking up most of her time, it seemed that she did not have any time for herself.
You’ve worked hard to achieve college success and now it is time to start working on finding permanent employment. The job interview goes well. You feel like you made a connection with the interviewer. But then, on your way out, you notice she has six more interviews scheduled after yours. How will she possibly remember you five hours later, or the next day when she decides whom to invite back for the second round? What can you do to help her remember the positive aspects of your interview?
Here are some college tips I wish I knew:
- What you do outside class is just as important as inside class- Whether it is building relationships with your dorm-mates or participating in intramural sports, you can learn valuable lessons about life while not in the lecture-hall setting. Be sure to put time into each of these learning experiences. Read more
It’s approaching final exam season, so let’s talk essay exam tips. In life, many people say “less is more.” But not when you’re answering essay questions.
Let’s take a look inside the grading process. On a multiple choice or short answer test, you start with 100% and lose points with each question that you miss. You might even say that instead of grading, the professor is “downgrading” your exam. On an essay test, on the other hand, you’re starting at zero, and you can only earn points by putting ink on paper. Every piece of relevant information that you provide adds to the value of your answer and ultimately your grade. Read more
What is leadership? Chances are, you need to redefine your initial thoughts. This video shows that the right kind of leadership can result in college success. Get great advice like this in Making College Count–a great high school graduation graduation gift!
Maybe you’re a freshman with no idea where your academic interests lie. Or a sophomore planning to change majors. Or a junior thinking about dropping some classes because they cut into practice time for your new band. Or a senior with a serious case of indecision. Whatever your situation, you may be considering adding a fifth year to your program.