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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

Deciding on your major in college is a big step for most young adults. For me, the main factor in this decision was career flexibility and options; ultimately I decided on International Business with a focus on Marketing and Communications. Even though this path alone has given me an ample amount of career decisions for me to choose from, I still think it is a valuable asset for college students to make early moves in their education that give them a variety of post-grad choices.

Get Involved in Things You Care About! 

I know you’ve probably heard the “Get Involved!” speech a million times before from parents and teachers—so I’ll take a new approach to it. A common theme among me and several of my friends is that we wish we had gotten involved in campus organizations or activities much earlier in our college careers. Getting involved in things you care about and have a genuine interest in is such a large factor for success when searching for your dream positions. 

This past month, after interviewing for a handful of internships, I took a step back and realized that these positions were very much outside of my major’s expertise, and yet, I was still very much qualified. This is because I had built up a resume of skills and attributes that I valued and enjoyed; a few of which fit under the umbrella of International Business, but many were unique to this. 

So, at the end of the day, as long as you have valuable experiences that you can talk about; then you have material for your resume as well as interviews! Having involvement in clubs or organizations you truly enjoy will provide you with great experiences that employers love to hear about, and ones that you’ll enjoy talking about too! 

Don’t Be Picky About Gaining Experience 

One lesson that took me a few failures to understand was that gaining experience in your undergraduate career isn’t the best time to be picky. Now, let me be clear: you should still care about and enjoy what you do, but don’t focus so much on interning or shadowing with your dream company just yet! 

After just having finished an interview process for a company I have been dreaming of working for—trust me on this one. It was those small starters and unpaid and seemingly unimportant work experiences that landed me this opportunity! Without having these smaller opportunities, I would have had nothing to talk about during the interview process, and no special attributes to set me apart from other candidates. 

There’s no secret to getting the position or experience that you want, but having a unique or eye-catching background is a great start to building up your professional profile. 

I think I’m far from knowing all the ins and outs to resume building and landing your perfect job, but I do have a long list of situations in which I now know how I could have improved my performance when applying for jobs. I know how stressful the internship search can get, and I know how much harder it becomes when you’re unsure of how to market yourself as a prospect with little work experience. If there’s any advice I could leave you with it would be to take a deep breath, you will end up where you belong, and your hard work during the school year will never go to waste! 

Eileen Quinn

Illinois State '23