The pandemic has made job prospects scarce and career building difficult. Last summer, internships across the nation were cancelled, leaving students scrambling. Even though students are returning to college and the internship market is re-opening, internships are still inaccessible to many. Despite the fact that not every student can accept unpaid internships, others are not safe traveling at this time. This poses issues for students trying to build their resumes with hopes of job prospects upon graduation. Internships are the main way to gain field experience and without them, recruiters may see their resumes as lacking.
Internships are not the only thing that can uplift a resume. Though this year of career advancement may look different, it is important to remember students can find ways to gain relevant experience through a variety of other activities.
Go Above and Beyond in Extracurricular Activities
It’s no surprise, employers love to see leadership experience on resumes. This does not necessarily have to be from internships or work experience. Did you start a club at your school? Do you hold an e-board position? Try to join clubs that are relevant to your course of study. For example: if you are interested in journalism and communications, join a school magazine to further explore your abilities in writing. Even if the club of your choice is not directly relevant towards your career choice, holding a leadership position will showcase your talents in people management, time management, organization, and decision making. You would be the face of your club and future employers will take that kind of responsibility into consideration.
Include Your Campus Jobs and Work Study
Not every student has the availability to take unpaid internships. Even so, don’t dismiss the value of campus jobs and work study. These jobs show commitment, responsibility, and time management skills coinciding with your studies. Some jobs, such as college ambassadors, engage with prospective students, allowing them to establish leadership and public speaking skills by representing the school and its values. On the other hand, jobs such as teaching assistant or tutor reflects a mastery of knowledge and a hard working mindset.
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Participate in Volunteer Activities
Although people may not realize it, volunteering can have multiple resume building benefits. First of all, volunteering is a great way to reinforce your career passions. This is especially important if you have switched majors or have not worked in your field of interest much. Volunteering allows you to build industry-specific skills, understand the specific needs of your career path, and make connections. There are many places to volunteer depending on your major including hospitals, social service centers, schools, or political campaigns.
This could take some time, planning, and dedication, but it will pay off and show future employers your drive to work independently on your skills. Before looking for freelance work, you must build a portfolio to showcase your passions. Such skills may include web design, computer programming, graphic design, photography, social media, editorial writing, or various content creation. Many students create a website or blog to feature their work and customize a link to send to employers and/or clients when necessary. Popular (and free) websites to get you started are Clippings, Squarespace, Wix, Journo, or WordPress. The website does not have to look beautiful at first, but it will gain its own personality as your work grows. Freelancing does not even have to be related to your career goals. Selling handmade items or resale clothing on etsy or another form of social media will show an entrepreneurial spirit.
Good luck in your career advancement endeavors, whether you're a senior starting your last year of classes online or a first year beginning a terrifying journey in a new medium. Take every interesting opportunity that presents itself to build your resume, no matter how unconventional.