These days, it is simply not enough to enroll in school and hope that the tiny piece of paper you’ve obtained is going to land you a job. The world is a competitive place, and students need to enhance their resumes/CVs with actual hard skills, not soft skills.
Contributor: Tom Blake from This Online World
#1 Start A Side Hustle In College
Starting a 'side hustle' while finish school will be the best decision you make for your future. Start freelancing online, launch a business, become a blogger, learn how to develop an app, or offer services in your local area...DO SOMETHING. A side hustle will teach you time management, customer service skills, marketing/business know-how, and a host of skills a textbook can't match. It doesn't even need to result in success; the lessons you learn are the truly valuable return.
Contributor: Tom Blake from This Online World
#2 Set Up A ‘Soft Start’ In Your Field
Often times, students have to find part time work to make ends meet. However, many students immediately search for minimum wage jobs because they 'don't feel qualified' for working at a company or business in their field.
However, many businesses are interested in hiring students for part-time work or soft starts. From a financial perspective, businesses can save a lot of money and time by gradually working with potential full time hires rather than hiring a full-time, salaried employee only to realize they aren't good fit.
Reach out to companies in your field and pitch them for a soft start. Even if it's remote work or 2 days in the office per week, you can gain some valuable experience and expand your network by doing so.
Contributors: Tom Blake from This Online World
#3 Do An Internship … Maybe Even Abroad!
One of the best ways to grow your CV while you are a student is to do an internship or work placement. Whether paid or unpaid, they are a great way to get some experience in an industry that interests you, as well as also an opportunity to try a particular company to see if you like their work culture and find out whether you would be a good fit. Moreover, it will give you more confidence when applying for jobs in the future and prepare you for what's to come! Before you know it, you’ll have gained the capabilities to be able to pursue a far more experienced job role in the future.
To make your CV even more competitive, you can consider doing a work placement abroad --- even if it's just for a few weeks during the summer. You will show that you are able to adapt to different environments and always ready for a challenge. If it's in a country where they speak a different language than your own, even better! You can gain fluency and boost your language skills at the same time
Contributors: David Wiseman from Internship in Brighton
#4 Raise Your Hand
As a student you should get involved in lots of activities and events on campus, sports, clubs, theater, volunteering, the arts, etc. Keep an open mind and cast a wide net to see where your interests and strengths intersect. When you find areas you love and can excel in then plant some roots and take a leadership role. Don¹t just show up and go through the motions, the goal is to find one or 2 things where you stand out from the pack and can shine. By the time you graduate you will be known for that thing you do best and leave a lasting legacy as your mark at the school. Be exceptional at something. It will show your drive, work ethic, and determination.
Contributors: Paige Arnof-Fenn from Mavens & Moguls
#5 Be Well Rounded
At the end of the day, employers will not be looking just at your GPA. They'll be looking for well-rounded individuals that can exhibit qualities that will be beneficial to their company. Below are just a few tips on how to improve your resume to get that dream job upon graduation:
- Join a club/organization...and hold a leadership position. One of the best ways to build upon your resume is to join a club or other organization. Even better yet, hold a leadership position. By doing so, you can demonstrate that you can work as a team member and can lead teams. These contributions to a club or other organization can be indicative of great qualities such as an individual who is a planner and is very organized.
- Part-time job. It's hard to believe that some individuals, when graduating from a University, have no real-world work experience. Having a part-time job while in school demonstrates work-ethic, commitment, organization, and an ability to work in teams. You've been there and have a proven track record, even if your part-time job falls outside of your field of study.
- Internships/Externships. Take advantage of internship and externship opportunities to gain experience in the field of work you're studying! By doing so, you'll have an advantage over many of your peers, already having experience in your field and it will show by the attention you receive from potential employers. You've been there with a proven track record, allowing you to contribute immediately to the success of your future employer.
Contributors: Jonathan Marsh from Home Helpers of Bradenton
#6 Join Student Government
A student should be on the lookout for student as well as volunteer activities they can use for ‘experience’ in their resume as they are building it during their student attendance, including:
- Student Government or on-campus non-profits activities, including volunteer or ‘office’ elections and tasking
- Any non-profit activities they are involved with (paid or unpaid) for external charitable organizations Note any special awards - Dean’s List, Scholarships awarded, or special recognition by ‘higher level’ institution entities (Dean, President, etc.)
- If you are working - even part-time, that should be listed on the resume, no matter how ‘lowly’ the job seems to be - even a waitress has activities and tasking that can be turned into accomplishments that can be ‘crowed about’ (e.g., responsible for X tables per four-hour shift, with an average dinner ticket of $XXX and average bar tab of $XXX with total shift sales of $XXXX per shift).
Contributors: Dawn D. Boyer, Ph.D. from Boyer Consulting
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