5 College Activities to Build Skills for Your Career

20 12 2016


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.


Note-Taking Tips for Those Extra Long Lecture Courses

23 08 2016

Note-Taking Tips for Those Extra Long Lecture Courses

Professor McBorely’s course, History and Theory of Monotonous Drudgery, meets three times a week at 8:00am for an hour and a half. He’s 117 years old, never takes questions, never looks up, never pauses to inhale, never repeats himself, and never references the text. Better yet, this is a required class for your MBA and you must earn at least a C if you want to earn your degree. How are you going to survive this boredom week after week? It won’t be easy, but you can do a few things to help yourself through a long lecture course. Use these tips to stay alert and engaged, even in the most tedious lectures.

Be Present
You can’t miss this class and you can’t sleep through this class. Do whatever you have to do (and are allowed to do) to show up and stay awake. Copious amounts of coffee. Crunchy snacks. Favorite pen. DO NOT plug in your headphones, no matter how much you are convinced music helps you concentrate. It doesn’t. It helps you zone out.

Use Your Notes
Have a pencil, pen, and paper ready to go. Writing while you listen will help you remember and these tried and true staples of education are still necessities for your backpack. In addition, a wise choice when the bullets (or words) are flying is using a recorder. If you have a digital voice recorder, or enough space on your phone, record the lecture. Any time you feel yourself getting too far behind in your note-taking, or that you may have missed something important, jot down in the margins the timestamp on the voice recorder, that way you can go back and fill in the blanks, check facts, and wording, etc.

This one may be the most annoying of them all, but in a note-heavy class, your best move is to go home and rewrite the notes. This review process lets you organize your thoughts and the professor’s words into the most understandable and memorable fashion for your brain. This is also the time to review your recording and check your notes against those someone else took. This really is the best way to learn the material and organize your thoughts about the most important facts.

Find a Backup
Maybe long lectures will never be your thing, and you just can’t commit. See if you can find an online course or similar credits in another class. If you can earn an MBA in technology management online, you can definitely handle one course from the web. Talk to your counselor to see if they know other professors who teach the same material, but maybe in a different way.

Nothing is going to make this long lecture course go by any faster, but hopefully these tips will make it more productive and a little easier to sit through.

****Campus to Career thanks guest blogger Brooke Chaplan for this post!!****

Degrees Worth Having in 2014 (Even If You Aren’t Sure)

12 11 2013

3 College Degrees Worth Having in 2014 Many American parents strive to have their children attend college, and this is considered the most success-oriented option amongst many teens. However, one consequence of college being popular is that teenagers are forced to decide on something that could potentially affect the rest of their life.

 Where should I go to school?

What degree should I study?  

What job will I end up having?

These are standard questions from an understandably curious and confused teenager that happens to be considering college.

Teens are commonly rushed when making a decision on which degree they should undertake. But what if someone realizes they should have done a different, more specialized degree to get a really specific job they want?  It’s this anxiety that causes a great part of many college attendants to change their major at least once throughout their course of study.

However, a major doesn’t necessarily have to trap you on a one-way road if you’re unsure of where you want to arrive in life. For those on the fence who want to make sure their college years pay off professionally, here are three great majors.

1.    Information Technology degree

This degree tops the charts in 2013. Whether it’s a computer programming or data analysis focus, you will be more marketable in most businesses if you hold an information technology degree. This flexible field of study looks great on the resumes of job seekers who want plenty of options. Furthermore, as businesses and technology progress simultaneously, the need for people trained in this area will only expand.

Information technology can be a much more stimulating career than people assume. Whether it’s studying and facilitating internet activity or helping maintain a business’ infrastructure, there are many avenues for inspiration.

Write it down: Most thriving businesses in 2013 have an IT department. Knowing the functionality and capability of the IT industry is invaluable, regardless of what specific career path you choose.

2.    Business Administration degree

This degree equips students with an understanding of how a general business model operates and succeeds. The innovative part of launching a business requires individual innovation and creativity, but this degree is a nearly mandatory stepping stone for anyone considering a serious business venture. I any case, it’s wise to carry an interdisciplinary education into the future, and a BA is a way to start down that road.

Even if you don’t intend to start a standard business, the knowledge you acquire about finances, human resources, and accounting will come in handy.

Write it down: If you are unsure about what degree to settle on, a business administration degree can be applied to any interest you have in a number of different ways. Whether you’re an entrepreneurial soul looking to start a revolution or just looking for a well-paying nine to five job, this degree can help get you there.

3.    Marketing degree

A marketing degree is a useful gateway to any career path. Regardless of what your interests are, if you want to create cash flow or increase popularity, you will inevitably be tasked with employing marketing strategies. Knowing how to utilize different platforms of communication for the promotion of a product or service is a unique and very useful skill to possess.

If you’re the type of person that thrives on change and endless possibility, this degree is worth a hard look.

Write it down: Marketing is a fancy word for gaining popularity and recognition for something. It’s a nice skill to have in life, regardless of where you choose to focus your energy.

Campus to Career thanks Kate Gredley for the guest post! 

kate-81028About the author: Kate Gredley is an elementary teacher with a background in marketing. She thrives on creativity and helping American youth grow. She currently writes to promote the information technology degree program at Globe University.

Your Spring Internship is Right Under Your Nose

29 10 2013

Right-Under-Your-Nose-300x296Summer isn’t the only season for gaining hands-on experience and adding fodder to your resume. A spring internship could be just what you need to kick-start your career.

The spring semester is right around the corner. So, if you’re late to the spring internship search or just struggling to find a worthy opportunity, you’re not alone. According to a recent InternMatch study, 46.5 percent of students begin searching for their internship between one and three months prior to their chosen internship season.

Don’t sweat your spring internship search. An opportunity might be right under your nose. Here are a few tips to help you land an awesome internship.

1. Go virtual. Maybe you’ve been hunting for the perfect internship in your area only to come up short. No problem–there’s tons of virtual internships available out there.

Pivot your internship search to hone in on virtual internships across the country. You’ll gain valuable experience and be able to juggle a busy schedule of school and work while you manage your internship from home or a coffee shop.

2. Create an internship proposal. It may sound crazy, but have you ever considered creating your own internship? If struggling to land an internship in your small college town or a surrounding location, proposing an internship to an employer might help you get hired.

Reach out to employers with a one page summary of why they should take you on as an intern. This document is similar to a job proposal and it should explain what you can bring to the position, along with your internship goals. Don’t forget to ask for fair compensation.

3. Transform your volunteer opportunities. Are you an avid volunteer for one or a few nonprofit organizations? If so, it may be time to utilize your connections within this organization. Even if they don’t have an intern role available for you, they may know someone who does. Or, pitch your expertise for the creation of a new internship role.

4. Actually utilize your career center. Far too many college career centers go underutilized by students. If you’re struggling to land a spring internship, head over to your career center to get some advice. Their staffers are bound to have some insight into available internship opportunities, and they also have great connections.

5. Hit up your part-time job. If you currently hold a part-time position at a large corporation, consider using your connections to look for an internship within. Your position as a retail associate may be a kicking off point for a more major-specific internship position within the company.

6. Ask everyone. Current and previous co-workers, friends, family, professors, neighbors–everyone needs to know about your internship search. Getting a direct referral to an internship position can be a powerful thing, and you never know who might be your connecting point. Update everyone on the status of your spring internship hunt.

7. Set up informational interviews. Do you admire someone at a company you’re hoping to intern for? Contact them to set up an informational interview to learn more about their career.

Offer to take them out to coffee or chat with them on the phone to gain a new perspective on their position and the ups and downs they’ve experienced as a professional. You never know, this might put you in contact with a great opportunity.

Switch up your traditional internship search to make sure you don’t miss out on a great opportunity this spring!

What’s the most unique way you’ve landed an internship?

For this post, Campus to Career thanks our friends at InternMatch!

About the author: Ashley Mosley is Community Engagement Manager of InternMatch, an online platform connecting the best intern candidates and employers. Connect with Ashley and InternMatch on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

The 1 Thing You MUST Do This Year at College

27 08 2013

The 1 Thing You MUST Do This Year at College

Ah, the fall semester.  Summer is quickly on its way out, with throngs of students returning to campus, some stepping on that hallowed ground for the very first time.  Four years (or five…six…) will go by faster than you could ever imagine.  There will be parties, term papers and an incredible amount of last-minute cramming for that important final exam.  Then one day, you’ll finish your degree, walk across the stage, shake hands with the Dean or university President, and graciously leave the stage with proof of all your hard work rolled up tightly in a scroll that fits in your hand.

NOW WHAT??  Welcome to the real world.  Your first loan payment will be due in a matter of months.  You studied, kept your head down, your grades up and maintained the image of a typical college student.  You made it this far – congratulations!  Now, the question that EVERYONE has been asking since the day you chose your major…”what are you going to do with your degree?”

Sound familiar?  I bet I have your attention now, huh?  After years and years of listening to college students, professors, career experts, corporate recruiters and executives, a college student’s success largely depends on ONE thing.  Yes, I said ONE.  This isn’t a Top 10 list or Fab 5.  There is ONE thing you can do NOW, regardless of your student status, that will help launch you into the right career after college.  It’s amazingly simple.  Ready?

Discover how you can actually use what you’re learning in the real world…

…and then use that knowledge to make the real world better. 

That’s it.  Some background:

In college, I studied Journalism, Music, Leadership and eventually majored in Communication with a Broadcasting emphasis.  I wanted to be on the radio.  And, I was for several years, reporting from remote locations, manning the sound board for high school and college football and basketball, hosting my own information call-in show titled “Law Line,” and even serving as morning drive-time DJ and General Manager of the station.  I learned a lot.  Some of the things I learned were that the industry was very difficult to break into since it was so fun.  People just didn’t leave their jobs (or move up.)  There was NO corporate ladder to climb!  So, I moved on…

Here’s the thing: I use my background in Communication and Leadership every day.  Whether it’s written, verbal or nonverbal, my experience in the field has helped me succeed in my career.  As the drive-time DJ, I was making people laugh, entertaining them with silly bits, sound effects and dumb interviews.  That was about it.  Now, I actually get to use the knowledge I possess to help other people succeed so they can make the world better.  I get to help people find their culture fit, understand their potential and coach them to go out and get it!

What I’m telling you is that whatever you study in college won’t help you unless you put it to use.  Don’t count on the perfect job to come along so you can do it.  Create the opportunity.  Find the need, pursue the solution.  Make the world better using your skills and knowledge gained from your college experience.

12 College Experiences Your Resume Needs [INFOGRAPHIC]

2 07 2013

Campus to Career is dedicated to helping college students and other job seekers find their passion, their BEST fit in the workplace.  We’re always scouring the web for new resources and tools to help YOU get hired.  Regarding that, a FANTASTIC resource found its way into the inbox a little while ago.  Check out the INFOGRAPHIC below for the 12 College Experiences Your Resume Needs.

A few notes:

1. In your Freshman year, you’ll be tempted to party, skip classes and do the very minimum you have to do to get by.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t enjoy college.  You should.  Like Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Be responsible.  Join a club.  My recommendation?  Join Enactus on campus.  You’ll gain some serious “on the ground” experience, have access to an AWESOME corporate network (remember, you want to get a job when you graduate) and you get to help enable human progress.

2. I say that leaders aren’t born.  They’re made.  It takes a lot to become a leader.  Figure out what you’re passionate about, take a risk and volunteer to lead.  Whether it’s part of a club, Student Government or simply leading a class project, you’ll gain some fantastic experience.  It’s okay to follow as well.  Leaders need followers.  Which one will YOU be?

3. You can always learn something from guest speakers. Be curious. Have an open mind. Just because Joe the Garbage Man is tonight’s guest speaker doesn’t mean you won’t learn anything. I’ve met Joe before. He’s pretty awesome.

4. This is part of being a leader (see #2.) Build your leadership profile on campus. There are lots of options!

5. Intern, intern, intern.  The BIG companies might not be hiring Freshmen and Sophomores, BUT local companies typically are. Use your time wisely. Learn how an company operates from the inside, what you’re good at and what you’re not so great at…it’s all part of the experience. When you’re done, the internship experience should help you make better choices when you’re ready to work full-time.  You know, that way you don’t get hired and say to yourself “WHAT WAS I THINKING?”  You’ll know because as an intern, you’ve already figured out the hard part.

6. Speak only 1 language? Congratulations. So do the majority of the people on the planet. Set yourself apart and learn a new language. I’d suggest Spanish, French, German or Mandarin Chinese.  PS. I’m currently learning Spanish through Rosetta Stone – it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be!

7. IT is one of the fastest growing industries in the world.  Coders will rule the world.  That’s what everyone is saying anyway.  When you pick your major, think about the future.  I love English Literature, but there’s not a whole lot you can do in the real world with that major.  Think broader and look into science, technology, engineering or mathematics.  In a few years, you might be glad you did!

8. Get on LinkedIn. NOW. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. A digital presence is becoming more and more important these days and believe it or not, employers don’t really care about your Facebook profile, MySpace (yes – it’s back) or Twitter profile. LinkedIn is different. Every Fortune 500 CEO is on LinkedIn. This is NOT something you want to wait to do until you have that first job. Be proactive. Start your LinkedIn profile today.  Add in your leadership and work experience as you gain it. Connect with classmates, coworkers, mentors and those in and outside of your industry of preference.

9. In the global economy, it’s important to learn about different cultures. The best way to experience them is through travel. If you have the chance to study abroad, even better.  Remember, that major of International Business doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to work overseas.

10. Online presence, digital portfolio…they go hand in hand. Take baby steps. Don’t try to start 15 social media accounts at once. You’ll never be able to effectively manage them all. Pick one. Master it, then move to the next. Just keep moving forward and remember that if you don’t want it on a billboard outside of your Grandma’s house, DON’T PUT IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

11. Contract or freelance work can help you earn some extra cash in college. Good at building websites? You might be able to help the business owner next door. Think about it. It’s a resume builder too…

12. Volunteering is something I’d highly recommend.  You build relationships, make friends, gain experience and help people. That’s what life is all about. Pay it forward. Oh, by the way, all of these things can also be done as part of the Enactus team on campus. I’m just sayin’… (Yes, I work for Enactus, but mean every word of what I say. Even if I didn’t work here, I’d recommend it to college students.)

Check out the full infographic below:

12 College Experiences Your Resume Needs [Infographic]

Does YOUR resume have everything it needs?  Thanks to Boundless for sharing this great graphic – we appreciate it!

College Students: How to Avoid the Sophomore Slump

25 01 2013

Young student reading and taking notesThe first year of college, students show up with enthusiasm in one hand and motivation in the other. But as sophomore year rolls around, the novelty of college begins to wear down. The challenges of difficult course loads arrive, money issues surface and doubts about major choice start to creep up. To top it off, graduation seems (and is) years away. Enter the sophomore slump: a constant reminder of what you got yourself into.

Here’s how to avoid it:

Don’t Do All of Your Reading Assignments

The stress of college life really sets in once you’ve passed introductory classes and are thrust into the middle of major-required courses. You’re busy balancing stuff that really matters, and probably a bunch of general education classes too. Here’s a secret: don’t do all of your reading assignments. It’s simply not the best use of your time. Granted its something you’ll need to gauge on a case-by-case basis, but after doing the reading for each class for the first few weeks you’ll be better about judging which reading assignments are necessary and which can be skipped.

Find a Quiet Place

Studying (or pretending to) in your dorm room might have worked freshmen year, but do yourself a favor and find a reliable, quiet place to get stuff done. Let this place trigger the motivational, focus-oriented bones in your body and hold it sacred. It can be the library, cafes and coffee shops near campus or a hideout on the backside of a building in the great outdoors. Wherever it is, only use it to be productive. You’ll find whether you are submitting scholarship applications (something you should continue to do throughout your four years), applying for jobs online, studying or checking your email (also important – universities and advisors often send vital information via email), the distractions will be minimal because of your mindset.

Get a Job That Matters

This one is tricky but doable. A job can pay the bills and teach you life and work skills — all important. But if you can, choose a job somewhat related to your future field. If you are going into architecture, apply for an on-campus yard and maintenance position. If you are interested in writing, work as an office assistant at the university’s newspaper or alumni magazine. At this point it doesn’t matter if you aren’t working directly in your future field, but you have a foot in the door and can learn from other people higher up in the chain.

It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know

Seek out and attend networking events. As an underclassmen you have the unique opportunity to attend career fairs, meet and greets and leadership conferences and learn for the sake of learning. You won’t have all the stress or anxiety of an upperclassmen trying to score an important internship, but you do have the same opportunity. When it comes to career success after college, it really is who you know, AND what you know. Make connections with leaders and peers in your industry. It’ll be worth it.

Quantity vs. Quality

Don’t try to be a jack of all trades. You need to test the waters and consider the options to find what you are really interested in, but once you do, focus on a few things rather than juggling a lot of things. This can be rough advice to take for the go-getters who can’t stand to pass up an opportunity. As a general rule, if you try to do everything you’ll be good at nothing. Follow the good, better, best guideline and realize for future employers it’s better to have a few amazing skills than many moderate ones.

About the author: Gina Waters is a volunteer firefighter, nanny and freelance writer, Gina has been a dedicated serious writer of articles and fiction since her first publication, when she was 18.