There are many thoughts that may go through a student’s head when beginning college. Many students are worried about making new friends, being away from home and on their own for the first time, finding independence, choosing a major, re-creating one’s self-image, time management, - the list goes on and on. With everything else going on during this major life transition, staying career focused is often times pushed to the back burner.
It is completely normal for students to go through this transitional period – but at some point it is crucial for a student to re-focus on his or her goals, and the sooner the better. We have often times hear the expression “You get what you put into it”, and that is true for college as well. This is the time period for you to gain as much knowledge and experience as you can in order to make yourself marketable to the work force when it is time for you to graduate.
The University Of Tampa Office Of Career Services offers an amazing workshop called “What Makes YOU Stand Out?” in order to help students with setting themselves above other candidates when applying for jobs. One of the questions that this workshop helps answer is “Why should a company hire you over all of the other job candidates?” Think about it – there are thousands of students in your graduating class, all taking similar classes, all competing for the same jobs as yourself upon graduation. It is your time to differentiate yourself.
A professor of mine, who used to hire for the previous company that he worked for, told my class that having a high GPA is noteworthy, but if all that candidate did was take classes then he usually wouldn’t hire that person. He told our class that he would much rather hire a candidate with a lower GPA (note: a 3.5 compared to a 4.0) who is well rounded and that gives of him or herself. He mentioned that students should join organizations, volunteer, and be involved with things that are going on. He said that doing things like those mentioned above prove that the candidate is dedicated to working without compensation, can work with and get along with other people, and has great time management.
But, where to start? The University of Tampa offers a plethora of resources that are great to help create a well-rounded, one-of-a-kind student. There are over one hundred clubs and organizations at The University of Tampa and many more resources. Getting involved gives you the opportunity to take leadership roles, network and gain experience in your field. Getting involved on campus will also give you more experience to put on your resume in order for you to land your first position.
Remember that it is a process to build your resume, get experience, and show employers that you are who they should hire. Get started as soon as you can and when it is time to graduate you will be prepared for what is next to come.
Marketing Intern, Office of Career Services
The University of Tampa