Making the move from college to starting your career can be an exciting or stressful time for fresh graduates, depending on their preparation, chosen field, and a whole host of factors that are outside anyone’s control. In a market where some are saying a bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma in terms of the minimum requirement to get a job, smart college students are developing relevant skills to separate themselves from the pack.
Here are 5 activities you can do while in college that will help you develop valuable skills to boost your resume and improve your job prospects after graduation.
Join career path-related societies – If you have an idea of what you might like to do after you graduate, join a related society on campus. For example, if you want to be a paramedic, you could get involved with the campus emergency services while in college. Aside from learning and applying some of the real skills you may use later, you’ll also develop valuable contacts and networks that may serve you well later. There are societies or organizations in most universities covering the major areas of study, including law societies, engineering societies, and more.
Attend campus talks and networking events – Many talks will be organized by student societies or by the departments themselves, and they are great places to mingle with your peers, professors, and outsiders who attend. Get on the email lists of any department or society you are interested in to see what events are coming up.
Get involved in student government – This could be connected to the particular organization related to your area of study, or to student life at your college in general. Skills you can develop here include leadership, project and event management, and networking. If you have leadership or management aspirations, this is a good way to cut your teeth.
Check out local Meetups – Getting involved in activities off-campus is a great way to expand your network beyond your circle of peers and classmates. Sites like meetup.com hold meetups and networking events on everything under the sun. There are over 140,000 active groups worldwide, with the highest concentration of groups in the biggest cities. The main skill you’ll be developing at meetups is networking, though depending on the meetup you choose to go to, you could be learning and actively doing a wide variety of skills and activities.
Give back with community work – Giving back to the community looks great on a resume, and if you get involved with a cause that is important to you, it gives you something to talk passionately about in an interview. You can learn a wide variety of career skills, depending on the type of community work you choose, but will also develop valuable interpersonal skills like empathy and teamwork.
Editor’s note: Campus to Career recommends that you explore involvement with your local Enactus team. There are over 400 university campuses active in the Enactus United States network and 1,700+ worldwide. Click here to learn more and find a team.
The common theme in all of these is networking; if you find an area of interest or activity you are passionate about, the best thing you can do is get more involved and develop a related network. Success in the job hunt today is about a combination of who you know, what you know, and what kind of commitment you have to continued learning and development of new skills.
What other college activities have you found helpful in preparing you for your career? Share your ideas in the comments below!
****For this post, Campus to Career thanks Joel Curry!!****
About: Joel Curry is a Career Advisor and Resume Expert who writes for Resume Companion. He helps job seekers craft more compelling cover letters and resumes, and gives career advice to those pursuing leadership and management level positions.