Students often ask how they can best build experience that adds to their résumé value. One rewarding and potentially long-lasting option is to take part in your school’s various associations, clubs or in a national organization. Here are a few tips on “how-to” become involved!
Where passion meets opportunity
During your academic journey, seek out groups where you already have a vested interest, be that in politics, the arts, within STEM fields, sports, etc., or where you simply want to learn more. Taking it a step further, if you find yourself passionate about the intersection between diversity and representation combined with your field of study, then look for groups engaged within areas of multicultural, women’s, Veteran’s, LGBTQ or ability representation. Once you plug in, you’ll hopefully find a community where you can learn, grow, and eventually lead.
If you build it, they will come
If your school doesn’t seem to have the group or club that you had hoped to join, then start one! Developing a new initiative is always a great way to gain experience and add to your resume toolkit. By starting a new venture and getting buy-in and participation from your classmates, you can be at the forefront of helping to create opportunities that others didn’t previously know how to navigate or even know that they needed! Your new club could have potential to last, long after you’ve wrapped up your academic journey.
Lead the way
Companies are always looking for future leaders, employees who will potentially grow their career at the company and develop into leaders – of projects AND people. Once you join a group and discover that you can contribute and invest your time and energy, seek out ways to thrive in that group, potentially as an officer/coordinator. This would be an added responsibility, but great experience. If you’re involved in a national organization, this would also provide opportunity for you to attend their national conferences and could lead to networking opportunities, which brings us to…
Leverage your network
While you’re part of a club or organization, seek out fellow members who are alum and still have connection and involvement with their school and/or your club or organization. Utilize your connections with your school’s career services team, or faculty sponsors, to find out who those alumni may be. As the saying goes, it never hurts to ask, so as you create a calendar of events, include a speaker series or a company tour with those alumni who are still highly interested and invested in helping your group.
The biggest takeaway from becoming involved in a club, group, association or organization, is that while you will not only learn, grow, and add to your experience, thus adding to your résumé, you will also have opportunity to be part of a community and potentially make lifelong friends. This will carry you far beyond your career!