College is an incredibly important time in your life. You leave home for the first time with the hope of walking across that glorious graduation stage, taking your hard-earned diploma in hand and diving head first into your lifelong career. Academic success is important, but the experience you accumulate in college is much more important to launch your professional life. Here are 4 ways to make the most of your professional transition.
1. Personalize your Major
The first, most obvious step is to choose a major. Already have one? Great, you’re on your way! If not, don’t worry, you have time. We already have some tips to help (link to other blog post), but your main focus should just be finding the place where your natural talent lines up with your interests. It is important to remember that majors are not static; they can change with you. Minors, double majors and independent majors are all valuable tools to get you where you want to be in the future.
2. Join a Club
Next on your career development to-do list is to join the club for your major. Most majors on campus have a club that enhances the experiences within that major outside of the classroom. Clubs will help you to get the most out of your classes and interests while also helping you to form connections with like-minded students and professors. If there isn’t a club specifically for your major, join one that is relatively close, or start your own!
3. Get a Job
Don’t fall into the dreaded cycle of needing experience to get a job, but needing a job to get experience. On-campus jobs can be a great resume builder. Interested in writing? Get a job at the PR Office. Like math? Become a TA or tutor for your favorite professor or class. Jobs don’t have to necessarily be directly linked to your major to be valuable. Jobs in Admissions or in Alex’s and the Brig can show that you can effectively manage your time, work on a team and conduct yourself professionally. These are valuable skills in the workplace. Leadership opportunities are also valuable, so working for the Center for Student Engagement, being an RA or being an L&T Mentor are worthwhile endeavors.
The ultimate source of experience is an internship. Your goal should be to do at least one, if not two or even three internships during your time during your time at Geneva. Instead of working at a restaurant or for a landscaping company all summer, find something that will give you helpful experience in your field.
Internships are available on campus through various offices, as are independent studies that you can coordinate with a professor. Geneva Joblink can help you to connect with internship opportunities. Don’t be afraid of non-paid internships, especially if you are getting a head start on the competition. This experience can lead to more prestigious and better paying internships later in your college years, which can in turn become stepping stones to your dream jobs. Also, don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith! Try for the most prestigious internships and for positions in big cities. You never know what you’ll get if you don’t try!
College is more than succeeding in the classroom; gaining experience outside of the classroom is what will truly set you apart in the job field. The more effort you put in to your future, the more successful you will be when you finally don the black and gold robes and walk across that graduation stage.
(Published December 14, 2015 on the Geneva Blog)