College Students – Get Involved Before Graduation Part 1

Internships Lead to Jobs

If you’re a college student, hopefully you’re already involved in student organizations or in the community in some way. If not, I’m going to have to insist that after reading this, you immediately start looking up clubs you might want to be a part of. Below are some reasons and tips to get you started. Keep in mind that not only does getting involved make your resume look better, it also helps you develop professionally.

Why Get Involved? 

The simple reason is that employers love to see that you “went the extra mile.” If you don’t have anything to show on your resume, your employer is going to assume that you don’t know much outside the classroom, you probably have no relative experience, and you probably spent all your free time partying playing Call of Duty.

The key to remember is that if you’re not involved, other students getting the same degree ARE involved. They’re taking internships and taking leadership roles in organizations. So when an employer is deciding who to grant an interview, or who to grant the job, they’re probably going to pick the person who did more in college than just attend classes and get the degree.

Get An Internship

Probably the most important thing for a college student to do before graduation is secure an internship. It doesn’t even have to be in your field necessarily. But by gaining real world experience and being able to show for it you’ll put yourself ahead of your competition. Not only that, but it’ll give you a head start on learning your industry (if your internship is in that field) and enable you to start building a network of business related connections.

Internships also could lead directly into a job with the company. Many firms like to hire “from within” their internship programs, especially larger corporations. After all, why train a new employee on the stuff the intern has already learned?

If you don’t have an internship, get one. Have you ever noticed when job hunting that seemingly everyone asks for applicants with experience? How are you suppose to have experience if you just graduated college? Internships.

Get a Part-Time Job

What’s the difference between a part-time job and an internship? Not much in terms of actual work. The real differences are usually that internships are limited to a specific time table, they may be unpaid, and they can be used towards credit for your degree. Part-time jobs are usually open ended, can’t be used towards credit, and are paid. In many ways, that makes a part-time job even better. The only downside is that internships are usually setup with the student’s needs in mind, while part-time jobs are setup with the company’s needs in mind. For example, an internship might be focused around teaching the student about the industry and giving them specific skills. A part-time job might have training on how to do their job specifically, but nothing afterwards (you’re on your own).

If you can’t find an internship, you should definitely pursue a part-time job. Hopefully you can find something in your major/field, but that’s usually more difficult to obtain unless it’s typical of the industry (i.e. – many banks hire college students to be tellers). Many college students end up with part-time jobs on their campuses or in restaurants as waiters/waitresses. These are all fine intermediary jobs, meaning you should continue searching for something more related to your degree and what you want to do in the end. Don’t settle for working your entire college career at a restaurant because it’s comfortable. Part-time jobs are good to have because they give you something to put on your resume and you can earn a paycheck. But in the end, if they’re unrelated to your field, you need to find something better before your senior year, and certainly before graduation.

To Be Continued… 

Next I’ll go over more specifics regarding clubs and organizations. Look for it on Wednesday or Thursday.

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About Jason Willis
Jason graduated from the University of Central Florida in the fall of 2011 with a B.S.B.A. in Finance. He currently works at The Newport Group as an Investment Analyst on the Asset & Liability Management Team working with Non Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans. In his spare time he continues to give back to AKPsi by assisting with the CFAC and NX Chapter at UCF. He also currently operates his own blog entitled Professional Hedging, and is also preparing to acquire his Series 7 and 66 Certifications.

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