We all know the struggle. We need experience to get a job, but we also need a job to get experience. This annoyingly real paradox can leave us with a vacant resume and zero incentive to apply for summer internships. Nevertheless, prior employment isn’t all there is to a resume. With enough involvement, you can go from having the resume of Patrick Star to having a resume where job experience is just an added bonus.
It’s always good to show that you’re willing to put in the time, even if a company isn’t putting down the coins. Volunteering is a great way to show an employer your dedication and is an even greater way to get involved in your desired field. Thinking about a future in retail? Homeless shelters such as the YWCA are often home to clothing pantries. A few hours organizing clothes can turn into a few months working for one of your favorite retailers. Plus, you can never go wrong by giving back to your community.
2. Sign Up for School Contests/ Awards
It’s just as easy to forget the awards your school offers as it is to forget the people these awards are named after. Still, one award won’t just make you stand out from other applicants, but will make you stand out as a member of your university. Take advantage of the offers your school throws at you, whether it’s a writing contest, a research grant, a dance competition, or so on. With new companies constantly emerging these days, competitiveness is definitely a desirable quality.
3. Plan A School or Community Event
Don’t feel intimidated by people your age that already have a start-up in some warehouse in Brooklyn. Achieve on your own terms. Planning an event in your school or community is a good way to show employers your leadership skills and innovation. Gather some of the musical groups at your college for a benefit concert in your school’s theater, or start a food drive in your neighborhood. HINT: Naming your project is a great way to personify your event.
4. Join the Executive Board of a Club
Don’t let an opportunity to lead go to waste. Joining the executive board (e-board) for a club at school is a good way to show leadership experience and gain experience working with a team. Today’s companies are nothing without collaboration. By joining an executive board, you show that you’re not just willing to work with others, but that you thrive from it.
5. Get Involved in a Local Business
Open mic nights, poetry readings, writing workshops, the opportunities are endless! Repetitively exposing your work to the public is worth noting on a resume. Not only does it show bravery, but it can vastly improve your public speaking skills. Try checking your local restaurant(s) or bookshop(s) for showcasing opportunities. Remember, persistence is key. Continued involvement in a business only increases possibilities for upward mobility.
6. BLOG BLOG BLOG
Whether you’re creating your own blog or blogging for another website, it’s good to value your opinion and it’s even greater when another website values it. Whether you’re a Communications major, a law student, or a future archaeologist, writing skills are timeless. Take a chance on your work. Contribute to a school or local publication, or submit your work to bigger publications like the Boston Globe. You have nothing to lose and, no matter the outcome, something to gain.
7. Keep Your Chin High and Your Grades Higher
The final tip to improving your resume is the simplest: good grades! As you get older, it’s pretty easy to let the GDP take the front seat to your GPA. Still, countless job experience loses a lot of its value if it’s paired with failing grades. Make sure to put as much time into your job search as you do into your studies. Getting paid is great, but so is getting educated. The more you know, the more the cash flows.