Your decisions and approach to life will determine your future. As a campus recruiter, I see this day in and day out in the way we approach resume reviews and decide if a student will interview with us or not.
The benefits of a post-secondary education are too many to mention. Not just thanks to the intellectual stimulation and challenge of higher education study, but also the diverse people you meet and experiences you gain all in one place, while having fun along the way. By balancing all of these elements at university, you’ll also be helping your future-self secure a role, in a competitive environment.
Get involved and become a leader while you’re at it
One of the worst things you can do at school is not get involved and only focus on your studies. Join clubs, societies, sports teams and volunteer. Not only is it a great way to meet new people, try new things and push yourself, these experiences and achievements are the essential when job hunting.
Focus on getting into positions of responsibility with these groups. Set some goals and look to deliver against these. Want to do something and there isn’t a society or sports team that offers it? Set one up. There really are no excuses for not making the most of these elements of university life.
Make the most of your summers by taking on roles in different industries
Summer is an awesome time of year. As a student, it’s a great opportunity to make some money and furnish your resume for after graduation. Over your first two summers of university, consider roles in customer service, youth camps, administration, sales etc. Learning to deal with the public provides great skills you can add to your resume.
If you’re fortunate enough not to have to focus on earning money over the summer months, don’t waste this time only hanging out at the cottage or with friends. Consider volunteering or structured travelling to add more weight to your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Consider a co-op program or internship to test your interview and networking skills
Most internship programs are aimed at students going into their final year of study over that summer and students are recruited for these early in their third year of university. Applying for internships lets you test your networking and interview skills before your final year and, if you’re lucky, will help secure you a role a year ahead of the competition. Don’t get caught out, recruiting for internships can happen as soon as you head back to school, so be prepared.
One of the very best ways to beat the no experience/no job dilemma is to add a co-op element to your degree program. Co-operative education ensures you develop critical skills and insight that can really help accelerate your career. Taking a co-op program may be one of the best life decisions you ever make.
Finally, study hard. In a competitive field, you should aim for a minimum GPA of a B or higher, in addition to balancing all of the above. Your grades help demonstrate your intellectual agility and curiosity and they help determine entry into many companies campus programs or future post-grad study.
Good luck. As always, feel free to respond to this post with any questions @mention me with your views or suggestions for future blog posts at @voiceofjamesd.