In my opinion, the best thing a college student can do for him/herself while in school is build up a resume. If you graduate college without ever really gaining much experience in the field you’re after, you’re going to find it a lot more difficult to land a career. But fear not! Experience presents itself in many different forms. A job is just the tip of the iceberg. You could also join a club, volunteer at an event, do well in a special class at school, get a part-time job on campus, or do an internship! The list goes on, but in this article I’d like to give you a few tips for a great upcoming event taking place at Western Oregon University. On February 18th, WOU’s Service Learning & Career Development (SLCD) department is holding a Internship and Volunteer Fair where there will be over 40 organizations looking to find possible hires. This is the perfect event to attend! Not only do the organizations come to you in one convenient place, but you know they are looking to hire. Even if you aren’t ready to commit just yet, it’s a great place to check out some of the playing field and get ideas.
Write a killer resume and bring many copies with you to an event like this. A good resume will be edited many, many times. Triple check your spelling. Look at a lot of examples on the internet for ideas on layout and what to include. Remember that a resume doesn’t have to be just past jobs you’ve had. Include anything relevant that shows your skills. These days, social media IS very relevant- add your WordPress blog and other sites that show off skills like writing, marketing, or other creative outlets.
Be prepared for an interview. Going to an internship fair may be like a pre-interview. Always be professional- first impressions are everything! Whenever you do enter an interview setting, bring your A game! Dress to impress (conservatively, of course) and have some thought up answers to commonly asked questions in your head. Why are you interested in this profession? What relevant skills/experience do you possess? What have those experiences taught you? What is your career goal?
Follow up and don’t give up! If you find an organization you really liked, follow up immediately. Do research on the company and go down and drop off a resume if you haven’t already given them one. If you have, call or email them after a day or so to thank them for their consideration. If you land an interview, step up the game! Prepare your answers and show up on time. Right after your interview, consider handwriting a thank you letter and mail it to the company. A handwritten letter is more personal these days and may help you stick out from the competition. If you don’t get the position, keep trying! Always keep an eye out for new positions (WOU students should check Wolflink) and apply right away when you see one.
Well those are my tips. There are many resources out there for more help, like the SLCD center at WOU, who even will help you write a resume. Good luck on your search!
If you’re wondering about my credentials for writing this article, I speak from personal life experiences, past jobs, and interviews with many respectable professionals. At 19, I worked as a manager in a fast-paced environment, by 22 was making over $40,000 a year, started my own small business, and recently landed a job in my dream field. I’m also a student writer at Western Oregon University, and continue to push myself to higher standards. Nonetheless, always take advice with a grain of salt, and do your own extensive research.
By Tia Jay