What Did You Do This Last Summer?

The Catch-22 all college students face:

Employers are looking to hire college graduates with experience in their field, but few employers are willing to give students opportunities to get that experience while in college.

This is a dilemma that many students face, so many decide to do…well, nothing. They work normal summer jobs at coffee shops, random side jobs or take the summer off. You have to do what you need to do to make money (I worked at a mill doing manual labor work for 60 hours a week the summer before my first year of college), but you do have a choice.

Rachel Zupek, from Career Builder, recently submitted an article to CNN stating that one of the top 10 things an employer looks for in a college graduate is relevant work experience. Experience was much more important to them than what school they went to or what kind of degree they had.

A Bachelor’s degree by itself doesn’t mean much to an employer these days. The Associated Press released a report in April stating that “53.6% of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or unemployed.”

That’s a pretty scary number.

So here are a few tips on how you can begin to get relevant work experience, while still attending school, that will help you attain a good job when you graduate.

  1. Internships. There are tons of internships out there that will help you get relevant work experience. Many of them will not be paid internships, so make sure they are the best fit for you from an experience standpoint. The best internship you can get is with the company you want to work for. Many employers use their internship as a “tryout” to see if they’d like to hire you in the future. Internships.com is a great place to find internships in your area.
  2. Clubs. It’s tough finding good clubs on campus. The best thing you can do is look for any and all clubs relevant to your major and attend the meetings to see if they’re interesting to you. When you find one that is interesting, try to get a leadership position where you can teach and coach others on that particular field – that’s the part that looks good on a resume.
  3. Organizations. Find organizations offered outside of your college that are relevant to your field. For example, Toastmasters is a great organization that helps people with their speaking and presentation skills, which are a must for most jobs these days.

Have you had success attaining a great job after graduating college or have any advice for others? Leave your comments below.

Jason D. Bay
Marketing Director
College Works Painting

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