I realize the majority of our readers have graduated from University by now, but we all know someone still experiencing what some call ‘the time of their lives’. So, send this along to your brother, daughter, niece or friend, and be sure to read on to see whether you did any or all of these things in your very own wonder years – I certainly didn’t do all of them, and really wish someone had told me to.
1. Make use of Student Services
In my fourth year at Carleton University, I made a one-on-one appointment with career services for a resume workshop. I brought in my resume, discussed my intended career path and got some crucial advice on cover letter writing, resume formatting and action verbs to utilize freely. I was given an information package that I still use as a reference to this day. This service is completely free and literally takes 20 minutes of a student’s time. After graduation, when the real world has suddenly manifested itself, a resume that offers a little more than chronological order will be an indispensable tool.
2. Get a Reference Letter or Two
Many graduate programs require two reference letters with an application, and it’s beneficial to have one on file from a University professor even if you aren’t thinking of doing a Masters. When you’ve had a good rapport with a professor, ask them politely at the end of the semester if they wouldn’t mind writing you a letter of reference. You never know when you’ll need something like this, and doing it right away when the professor remembers you, instead of 3 years later, is always best.
3. Get an Internship
After graduating, it’s often the case that students don’t have experience within their field of interest. Those impending summer months are always a competitive time for graduates seeking work opportunities. If a student has spent 3 months or so interning in their field, this will always give them the upper hand within a group. Internships are extremely easy to find (newspapers, magazines, TV stations, law offices, PR companies, accounting firms…and the list goes on) and if you’re able to spend some time essentially volunteering in exchange for a learning opportunity, it’s important to do so. Look into co-op programs if it’s not too late – you’ll get paid for your work and graduate with loads of experience.
4. Get a Minor
It always depends on a person’s major, but, most often, adding a minor to a degree can be very useful in the long run. If you decide further down the road that you’d like to enter a different field, you may not have to return to school if your minor encompasses some part of it. A minor in business for those in the Arts or Sciences will always be helpful down the road, and even a minor in French, History or Music will show a future employer that you are passionate about other things and that you took your schooling seriously. Personally, I didn’t include a minor in my studies and I’ve survived post-graduation, but as I said, it’s always a good idea to branch out a bit and make your electives a little more official.
The girls of in a nutshell were active members at Carleton U’s Orientation Week every single year (from newbie frosh to graduated leader) and the friendships we’ve made are lifelong. I personally have this volunteering experience on my resume, where I believe it belongs. Taking some time to help first year students enter a world without supervision is important, and having people around them that can relate to their worries is crucial. Even though the social aspects of this experience are huge, I also learnt a lot every year and believe it’s critical that every student does their part on campus. If Orientation Week isn’t your thing (please try it first though), find another outlet for your time and bring some friends, you’ll meet some new people and have one more thing to add to that resume of yours.