Many undergraduate freshmen, sophomores, and even some juniors may not be putting too much thought into their resumes, because internships and jobs are a few years away. However, this is one of the most important times in your undergraduate career, because you are at the point where you can start to think about how to build your resume. Many of us already have resumes, from summer jobs and college applications. However, when it comes down to applying to internships and jobs that stem from your major, you must first figure out what you want your prospective employer to see. Don’t forget, this is your time to sell yourself! Below are some ideas you may want to keep in mind, while you still have time to build your resumes.
Browse Job Descriptions
It can be a good idea to look at the application process for internships in your field, even if you are not planning on applying any time soon. Even if you are unsure of what you your plans are after graduation, looking at these descriptions may help you figure out what type of internships and jobs you may want in the future. The descriptions and requirements you see on these pages will help you get an idea of what would be required for when it is time for you to apply for an internship, not to mention help you decide if this is a job you can see yourself doing.
For example, an editorial internship or a design internship may require a portfolio submission. If you know this in advance, it will give you time to create portfolios and have them reviewed. Other jobs may also require certain certifications or skills that you can tailor your class schedule to, in order to fulfill these requirements before you apply.
Join Clubs and Organizations
Many upperclassmen are looking back on their time at JMU, wishing that they became more involved. Employers love to see that their applicants went beyond the classroom to get involved in their community. For underclassmen, you may want to think of what leadership positions you may want to put on your resume. When joining clubs or organizations during your first year at JMU, it leaves many opportunities to advance into a leadership position by the time you need to apply for jobs and internships. For example, if you are thinking about going into government after graduation, if you joining the Student Government Association as an undergraduate, you may be able to work your way up to president. Leadership positions not only show that you have leadership skills and experience, but those skills are also transferable in the workplace.
It is Never too Early to Network!
While sitting in class, dozing off, remember that your relationships with your professors can help in the long run. They can be there to introduce you to other professionals in your preferred industry and they can also write letters of recommendations. Since many professors like to get to know you before writing a recommendation, do not be afraid to talk with them after class, go to office hours, etc. It is also important to take advantage of other career opportunities around campus, like job and internship fairs.
Even if you are not at the stage to apply for jobs or internships, networking with prospective employers can help to get your foot in the door.