Why do we go to college? To get a degree and get a job in a specialized field, right? It sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes the purpose of college tends to be forgotten with all of the friendships students make and events they participate in. College is a social institution where as soon as you get your degree, you are out in the real world. It might seem daunting, but there are ways you can prepare yourself while you are still getting your education.
Take advantage of your school’s career services office and its members. They are there to help you! They can assist with resumes, cover letters and everything you need to get a job once you get your diploma. You don’t have to wait until you are a senior or close to graduating. Work on building your resume and cover letters from the start, and you will be a master by the time you are ready for your first post-college job.
Take advantage of every career fair, even if it is not at your campus. College faculty want you to get a job as soon as you get out. They want you to feel confident in your degree and put it to good use. A lot of universities will hold frequently host job fairs on campus. If yours doesn’t, check out another campus nearby that does! This is a good chance to get your name out there and network. Networking is the key to getting a great position after graduation.
Experience and resume builders are everything. Join societies and clubs dedicated to your field of interest. Seek out internships no matter what education level you are at. The more experience, the better. It stands out to employers that you are dedicated to your field, and are willing to work to make yourself stand out as a prospective employee.
Have any other tips for students anxious about joining the workforce after college? Let us know in the comment section below!
The nagging thought in the back of your mind is a thorn in the side of college students everywhere. What happens when the buzzing allure of campus is replaced by the concrete jungle of the “real world?” How are we to survive without the meal plan, the ease of social contact, and the free-flowing wisdom of professors? It’s a truly terrifying thought – the idea of complete independence.
In what will likely be your last summer at home in close proximity to the people that you’ve depended on for years, you might be reminded often that it’s time to “grow up.” What does this mean? You just graduated college (often regarded as some of the most formative years of life) and you’re still in your early 20s. You’re well acquainted with the stress of academics and the ins and outs of socializing. What you’re not quite so familiar with is professional and financial stress. Earning good grades is a start, but it doesn’t effectively emulate the challenge of being responsible for all of one’s own expenditures and making prudent life decisions. Now you sit, head in hands, slightly perplexed – it all came so fast.
Regardless of whether you plan on furthering your education or you instead opt to plunge into the job market, things will no longer be the same. The stigma attached to graduates differs drastically from that associated with the carefree, up-and-coming freshman or even the gradually maturing sophomore. Society’s expectation is nothing short of daunting and the professional world is no more forgiving. In truth, young graduates must emerge from the physical and psychological shelter of the past four(ish) years as soon as possible in order to avoid an incredibly rude awakening. Taking the time to carefully think about the future is an effective way to wriggle free from the past.
It doesn’t have to be a sorrowful transition, but things will change. Things will come with less ease, but will bring greater rewards. Fewer lessons will come in lecture form, but you’ll still be responsible for the material in the long run. The stakes are now greater and it’s important to brace yourself for the uncertainty ahead.
For most of us, there’s nothing more challenging than sitting down and writing a cover letter. Writing about yourself is one thing. Writing about yourself in a way that shows you can do a job and gets you noticed out of 100 applicants is another. Resume and cover letter writing is just step one on job hunts, and can often be the hardest step. But thanks to career services and many other professional tips, it’s time all of us heading into the job market or applying to internships know how it’s done.
The best way to set up a resume is to make a list of everything you’ve done in college—once you’re a sophomore or older, you typically want to forget high school ever happened in your applications (unless you went to a highly prestigious boarding school or something of the like). Think about internships, clubs, courses and class projects relevant to the job. Once you have it all laid out before, pick and choose from the list to tailor your experiences to a job description. Yup, that’s right. You don’t necessarily want just one kind of resume for every job you apply for—though you can often repeat when applying to all jobs in the same field. The best way to get hired is to cater your resume and cover letter to the job description given and the skills required. That way, one glance at your piece of paper—because your resume should always be one single piece of paper—will immediately show an employer you could do this job.
When writing your resume, format is important. Use bold headings for different sections, like education, leadership experience, etc. You can group your internship and class work experiences under different headings related to the job, so they can see a wider range of what you’ve been up to—especially since by the end of senior year, most of us can’t fit all of our experiences on one page and have to choose what to include. For each experience, make sure you include the name of the company, where you worked, your job title, and the dates of your internship or class. Keep the format the same throughout the whole resume to make it look more professional and flow better. Under each title of your experience, include at least three bullet points as to what you did. Be honest, beginning each bullet with an action verb, and again try to make your experience as closely related to the job description as possible without making up details. Voila! You have a resume that will stand out to the company and hopefully help land you the job.
In addition to working hard on your resume, you need to put the time in to writing different cover letters for each job. Companies can tell if you’re using the same letter repeatedly and just inserting a different company name. Here’s the trick to these: the company wants to know if you can do the job, if you want the job (aka have passion for it), and if you’ll fit into the work environment. So, you should take this opportunity—again, the cover letter should be just about a page if not less—to try to reference all of these points as best you can.
You should begin your letter by addressing the employer by name if possible, and launch into a short paragraph about how you’re interested in such a position and why. The why aspect is important because it can help show your passion and what it is about this particular company that makes you want to work there. Then enter a new paragraph that is about 10 sentences at most, highlighting three to five experiences on your resume that make you a good candidate. DON’T just re-iterate what your resume already tells them about your study abroad experience, but go into detail about what you learned exactly…which should be related to the job description and what experience they want you to have! Be concise and clear, and stick to the most important details of what you did. Conclude your letter by thanking them for their consideration and giving them details on how to reach you. Include references with their information, and with one final thank you and “hope to hear from you soon,” you’ve just finished one of the most difficult letters to write ever. Phew!
What’s the deal with office dogs? CNN has defended cubical cuddles with office dogs as they can reduce stress, but what happens when the dog underfoot isn’t so friendly?
Even as a dog person, you may not be able to handle a pooch who isn’t a people person. Well, a dog who doesn’t like people… you know what I mean.
Imagine sitting at a desk way back in high school when you were not in control of where and how long you’d be working. Now envision your teacher and principle in the room because at an internship you’ve got your boss and your boss’s boss and sometimes even your boss’s boss’s boss around. Now picture being one of five freshman in a sea of seniors. This is what an average internship experience is like.
Now add a mean barking dog to the mix.
I love dogs. My dog is sweet and sensitive: he gets excited when you come home happy but will follow underfoot curling up to you when you’ve had a long day. It took a couple of dog sitting jobs to realize that not all dogs are like this, and I have gotten spoiled over the years with the sweetest dog.
I think if there was a dog like mine in a work environment, workers would be a bit more relaxed, possibly sometimes distracted. I have worked in offices with dogs in the past and unfortunately, all of them only added to the tense workplace.
My best advice to dealing with the office dog is to ask co-workers for Tylenol in front of a boss while the dog is barking. Unfortunately, this is a situation that is out of your control and you will have to learn to deal.
Work-study, part time, internships…which job is the right job? Follow these five guidelines in order to become one step closer to securing the right job for you on campus.
1. Determine the Type of Job You Want or Need
The first thing I recommend doing when searching for an on-campus job is determining your financial aid package. Sometimes you have qualified for a work-study job that can be in any department at your university. Normally there is a deadline early in the fall term that you must be hired by, or you will lose that part of your package. If you do not qualify for work-study, this means you are ineligible to be hired by a department that is work-study only. In this case you need to be looking for part-time jobs on campus that are not designated as such. If you are interested in a fall semester internship, these must usually be applied for the summer prior, so be sure you have those deadlines straight.
2. Search and Network
Find out if your school has an online or print database that lists all of the jobs available, and job types at that. Normally in such an online database you can narrow down your results to only the type of job you are looking for, and enter a keyword that represents what type of work you wish to do. Also attend job fairs on campus. Usually there will be a work-study fair early in the fall semester, and sometimes part-time positions will be advertised there as well.
3. Narrow It Down
Do you want to work in a department related to your major? Have you lifeguarded in the past and wish to work at the rec center? These are all important things to consider when deciding what jobs to apply for. Many work-study positions require their students to perform a lot of administrative tasks—other positions give you plenty of time to do your own homework. Keep that in mind as well. Do you want to sit at the front desk at the rec center, swiping people in and doing homework simultaneously, or do you want office experience?
4. Apply, Apply, Apply
Send out as many applications as you see fit. Bring your resume to those job fairs, and be prepared to answer any questions that are directed toward you. Dress appropriately when attending such fairs, or whenever you anticipate you will be interacting with a potential employer. Go to as many interviews as you are able, get to know the atmosphere surrounding the position, and don’t accept an offer unless you’re absolutely sure it’s what you want and can handle.
5. Accept the Job and Stay
Many people switch on-campus jobs frequently throughout their four years at school, and they have good reason. I recommend, however, whenever possible, that you stay with your position as long as you can. This builds up a great reference pool for when you apply for full-time jobs, having known your on-campus employer for multiple years. I have kept the same work-study job since my freshmen year, and will be continuing with it into my senior semesters. But at the same time, it is always understandable if you have a valid reason for wanting to leave (poor work environment, something more suited to you is offered the next year, etc.).
Following these five steps is a great way to find the right job for you and keep it for as long as you need. As always, start early and be prepared to sell yourself to those on-campus employers. After all, it’s students like you that they’re looking for. Best of luck!
Sure any job would be great for a college student, especially when all we can think about is the thousands of dollars in loans we will be paying off for the next several years. Working on campus wouldn’t be one of your highest paying jobs, but there are some perks, one being that you can walk to work. If you are going to take the on campus job route, why not try and get one that seems most fun?
1). Lifeguarding – Let’s start off with what seems like the most fun job you can have at school; lifeguarding. All you need is your certifications and you get to hang out by the pool, and make sure you are doing your job. To attain these certifications, courses must be taken usually at somewhere in between $100-$150, but it is certainly worth it. For people that already have these certifications and are lifeguarding over the summer, this opportunity is perfect for you on campus. At Ramapo College we do actually have surrounding elementary and middle schools use our pool for classes where paid student lifeguards are on duty. As a lifeguard you are to enforce the rules of the pool, protect and help anybody in trouble, you must be able to provide first aid, and perform CPR when needed.
2). Desk Attendant (Gym) – As a daily gym goer myself, a job that I should probably look into for next semester is the gym desk attendant job. As a gym desk attendant at most schools you sign people in and out of the gym making sure everybody entering is a member of the college being either student or faculty. In most cases you are allowed to bring your books and laptops so you can get some homework done in the meantime. A good perk about this job is that you can either get a workout immediately after your time at the desk or even before. Any sort of desk attendant job will give you the opportunity to get homework done which is a perfect situation for busy college students. Getting paid to make sure students show their correct identification, while being able to get homework done? Why not?
3). Tutoring – Tutoring is a great on campus job in which you are not only getting paid for, but spreading your knowledge with other students as well. This might be one of the higher paying jobs on campus as well. If you are excellent at a certain subject, tutoring is a good job opportunity that you should look into.
4). Resident Assistant – Being a Resident Assistant (RA) may be a job in which you have to devote a lot time to, but the payoff is huge at the end of day. You don’t necessarily get paid a large amount, you actually get paid what the average for on campus jobs is, so what do I mean when I say it is a huge pay off at the end of the day? Well this is because you save major bucks on housing and meal plans. Some colleges give completely free housing, but many schools have discounted housing, along with discounted meal plans. You can save a lot of money for these things and your loans that pile up throughout the years will certainly be a lesser amount than students not getting compensated with free housing, and meal plans. Sure it can be a tough job at times especially since it may put a stop on what nights you can and cannot go out, but again, definitely worth it in the end. As a resident assistant your job is to keep the floor you are assigned to, in order. Creating events for the building you are in and things of that nature are also in your job description. So if you are looking to save some big bucks, while ready to give up some of your weekends? Well then a resident assistant job is great for you.
Remember though, this is college and you certainly want to work hard so you can play hard. If a position you are looking for is filled, keep searching and find the right on campus job opportunity for you. Some spare cash while living away at school is always a plus, especially when essentials are needed.
I’ve never used a GPS, or even owned one for that matter. In Kansas everything is built around a grid. In Philadelphia I don’t drive, I use the subway or have a friend drive me. I don’t get lost, and I rarely read street signs. There’s nothing like relying on handy dandy landmarks and familiar surroundings.
This summer I moved to Salt Lake City, and somehow my directional skills seemed to vanish.
Street names were different, intersections seeme wice as long, and to top it all off—there are mountains in every direction.
In short, my GPS has saved me. I’m still learning, but without it, the last month would have been torture.
But why does having a talking friend attached to my windshield make my commute more comforting? Why do I feel better knowing that Gabby, my Garmin, is leading the way?
In my mind it all comes down to surprise. Using a GPS takes the guesswork out of driving. When I need to go left, she lets me know. When I go the wrong way, she helps me turn around.
That doesn’t mean you should become complacent or let your GPS do all the work, but it does mean you can relax a little and not stress about where you’re going.
Any GPS, or any set of directions makes traveling easier and more direct. I for one hate highways. They scare me. Gabby knows me well. She gives me an alternate route. She also knows my favorite spots and memorizes where I like to go. Now that’s true love.
I’ll admit that it’s almost sad that I don’t know what people did before GPS technology. I know there was mapquest once upon a time. What was there before that? A compass? Did people really rely on good faith and sense of direction to get around? I wish those people could teach me a thing or two.
I’m not saying we should depend on a GPS- they aren’t fool proof, and of course it would be better to know naturally how to get around. But it’s not always that easy.
When I get lost, Gabby helps me get back on track. I just have to remember that she can’t do it all—I still need to be alert and focused. She is just my helper along the way!
Here I am in Salt Lake City—beautiful place. But, I’m lonely, I’m bored, and I live in an apartment with no furniture and work is slow.
Not exactly the glamorous resume bullet and experience builder that I was hoping for.
I’m under utilized, under challenged and searching high and low for ways to spice things up.
Are you feeling the same? I feel like it’s more common than us interns think but there is a way to fix it, so listen up!
You can’t suffer in silence. You need to communicate how you’re feeling and let your boss know. July is the perfect time—a halfway mark for some. Think of it as a mid progress report.
You owe it to your place of work to tell them what works and what doesn’t work in terms of intern responsibilities.
If you voice your concerns, or even suggest new ideas or projects you may be in an entirely different boat—one that you could end up loving to sail on. And plus, you have a whole month to experience new jobs and tasks—but only if you say something now.
If that doesn’t work and you’re still bored, or worse, sitting at your desk twiddling your thumbs, you can still take action.
Stretch your own limits and reach for what you know you’re capable of. If you have any creative leeway at all—try something new, or take a task and put your spin on it to show that you can be innovative and improve existing methods. However, if you feel under utilized you need to make sure you show your strengths, don’t tell them. No office, or job wants to hear you talk about how great you are—just put it into action.
And if all else fails, and you’re job isn’t likely to turn around anytime soon, look for the silver lining. For one, it’s only for the summer. You’ll head back to school soon and your job just will be one of your many experiences that helps build character—or at the very least can be used as a good story. Or maybe you love your co-workers and your summer intern disaster helped you land a new friend, or fling. Maybe your lunch break made everything worth it—I have a friend whose works caters lunch every day—yum!
There will always be things we love about our jobs, and then the things we could definitely live without. Make sure to voice your concerns early and never suffer in silence—and if you decide to, at least look for the good stuff intertwined throughout it all, it can’t be all bad.
I’ve been here for a month.
I’ve barely seen the salt lake (Does from the plane count?!). I haven’t climbed any mountains. I have hiked or even seen any trails.
I’m clearly lagging behind.
Utah is beautiful—home to parks, mountains and wildlife. A photographers dream! Yet here I am, working full time and missing the “sites”.
Or am I?
I came here for an internship. I should definitely take advantage of the scenery. I have to. But just because I haven’t camped in the mountains doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced some of the best things about being here.
I’ve created a routine.
I go to work. I head to the gym. I shop for groceries. I drive around singing and dancing to Call Me Maybe while looking at the mountains.
Sounds like fun to me.
I will definitely do things more “Utah”. But I think it’s cool that I fit in. I feel like a local—I could really live here. I’m not site seeing or trying to fit everything in all at once.
I’m relaxed. I’m enjoying the scenery, even if it’s from a distance. (It’s hard to miss the landscape—just look out a window!)
Internships are semi-permanent. The work isn’t always fascinating but then again, there’s more to life than your 9 to 5. I’m learning that now by being here.
I know I’ll get around to everything else, but for now, I love the little things—Like making dinner (not from a dining hall), and going to dollar movies, and experiencing the heat, minus sticky humidity!
I have a month left here, I’ll be curious to see what takes priority—the sites, or the lifestyle.
Only time will tell!
When it comes time to find a summer internship, or a full-time job when you’re fresh out of college, it takes a lot to stand out from the pool of applicants who have the exact same goals as you. So make yourself unique, and try these five steps in order to significantly increase your chances of getting hired:
1. Update your Resume
Make sure your resume includes all relevant information that pertains to where you are applying. Sometimes you might need to make multiple versions in order to suit various applications. Instead of labeling your previous employment “Work Experience,” try calling it “Professional Experience,” especially if it is in your field (perhaps from a previous internship, a work study position, etc.). If you have worked in retail or food service, sometimes it’s better to leave that out to save space, unless the skills you gained are relevant to the position you are seeking. Remember, try to keep your resume down to one or two pages; the employers are looking at many at a time, and if you have more information on yours than necessary, it could be too overwhelming for them to really focus on.
2. Create a Personal Website
This is a great option, especially if you have a portfolio. Rather than turning in just a resume and cover letter that lists your achievements, provide a link to your website where the employer can view your actual work. That way, if they are truly interested, they can better familiarize themselves with what you do. This will also increase your chances of being contacted, based on the professional presentation you have given them to work with.
3. Show Demonstrated Interest
Don’t be so persistent to the brink of becoming an annoyance, but if you have a genuine interest in a specific company, try to meet up with recruiting representatives at job fairs or campus visits. That way, you’re able to get your name on the table and show that you would really like to work there. Give them a reason to think you would be a great addition to the company.
Whether it’s after a job fair conversation or a formal interview, you should always follow up (an email is best) and thank the person/people you spoke with. For example, let them know you enjoyed talking with them and learning about the company, and that you look forward to hearing from them soon. After that, however, you need to leave it up to them for a while. It is unprofessional to inquire about a position if you are still within the decision period that they specified.
5. Stay Interested
Even if you don’t end up getting hired for that specific position, you can inform the company that you would be open to having them keep your resume on file (especially if you are very set on working with that company). This is not a guarantee, but having already interacted with them at this level can push you ahead of other applicants for newer positions.
In these five ways you can put yourself out there, showcase your abilities in a unique way, and make those companies remember you. As always, nothing is guaranteed in today’s job market, but repeating these steps as many times as it takes can certainly project you further. Good luck!