CareerBuilder: 5 Ways College Gave You More Training Than You Thought

According to a recent CareerBuilder college survey, one-in-four hiring managers say relevant experience is the top thing they look for in a new graduate. If you can find a paid internship or can afford to take an unpaid one, more power to you. You have a head start on the job market. For the rest of you — even if you’ve never worked in an office — your college days have given you more experience than you might think. You just need to strategically market your campus activities.

Before you write your résumé, consider your:

Coursework

Remember those weeks you spent in the student center working on that group advertising project? That’s experience. So is that 3,000-word investigative journalism story you researched all semester. If you worked on a project or report in the classroom that directly relates to a certain field, by all means include it on your résumé. Sometimes, creating a strategic list of classes you’ve taken can give you an edge. For example, say you’re a premed-turned-journalism major. You’d be a great candidate if you came across a posting for a science reporter job. Create a “Relevant Coursework” section on your résumé, and list your important journalism classes alongside the biology and chemistry classes you took as an underclassman. A word of caution: Don’t list classes for the sake of listing classes. The section is called “Relevant Coursework” for a reason.

Part-time jobs

Meticulously folding T-shirts into identical stacks at the Gap or bussing tables at Red Lobster might not seem like the kind of experience employers are looking for. But your part-time gig taught you some important skills that can translate to any workplace. Think about when you waited tables: You probably learned to diplomatically handle all sorts of people — even the difficult ones. Plus, working your way through school (especially if you didn’t let your grades suffer) shows dedication and impressive time-management ability. When you include these jobs on your résumé, the key is to not just list your job duties. Focus on accomplishments (like when you increased sales by 10 percent at the hot dog stand) or skills learned on the job.

Campus leadership positions

It’s impressive to be dorm president. It’s even more impressive when you show how you successfully managed a $10,000 budget and created and implemented a plan to reduce dorm vandalism, reduced cleaning costs by 50 percent year-over-year. Don’t rely on a fancy title — show how your time and hard work made an impact on your organization.

Clubs and other extracurriculars

So, you couldn’t get a job because you spent all your non-class time on the basketball court? Your time as a varsity athlete likely taught you leadership, teamwork and some serious time-management — all things employers consider to be important. Or maybe you were in charge of your sorority’s recruitment. You now have experience managing a budget, supervising a staff and coordinating PR efforts to make your sorority’s image as positive as possible.

Volunteer work

If you spent a day or two a week helping out at a nursing home or writing up fliers for a political campaign, don’t discount the value of your work. More than 60 percent of hiring managers say they count volunteer work as relevant experience, according to CareerBuilder.com. Again, keep in mind that a list of accomplishments and skills is much more compelling than a list of job duties.

Source

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12 thoughts on “CareerBuilder: 5 Ways College Gave You More Training Than You Thought

  1. Not only volunteering, having any kind of work experience, but believe it or not, a sport as a hobby helps tremendously. Many many managers are avid fans of any sport and find the time to play after a stressful day. I would include any such hobbies on my CV. Health is an important issue for (especially) big companies and they like knowing their employees are fit as that equals more productivity…..

    • “Health is an important issue for (especially) big companies and they like knowing their employees are fit as that equals more productivity…..”

      Can you talk more about that? Do you mean putting that you are active in XYZ sports on your CV or do you mean mentioning it in the interview?

      All I know if that companies are less reluctant to hire really overweight/obese employees because it would too much of an expense to them, so they want to see that you care about your health.

      • Oooooooooo, so happy you asked. I will expound from the point of view of the company I’m working for. They provide a massive, I mean MASSIVE sport center in ALL their branches for every employee. We’re basically paying the equivalent of Chf 200.– yearly for a gym membership. They have ads in the elevator, when entering your work area pertaining to this. One hardly, I mean HARDLY sees overweight people. If so, they’re either expat Brits or Americans who do lose the weight if they stay for longer than 6mths. At lunch time, I even see our CEO (can mail you his name!) running and we’re the same age (I look ways better though!!!:-). They even have an internal nutritionist (cost Chf500.–) who would test you to map out a diet plan, ie, what’s healthier for you to eat according to your blood group, bodymast, shape, height and bone structure. A lot of my work colleagues are doing it and looking great!.

        I’m saying, PUT THIS ON YOUR CV. It’s a MAJOR plus. Expound on it in interviews if asked, and it will be, trust!.

        Goodluck, everyone. Be the BEST you can be.

        • “One hardly, I mean HARDLY sees overweight people. If so, they’re either expat Brits or Americans who do lose the weight if they stay for longer than 6mths.”

          One of many ways that people can tell you are an American abroad : / But, this is some great advise Foos!! I would like to work abroad, but I know it can be difficult for recent grads depending on what field they are working in. i’m grateful for my french courses, because that’s where we started practicing how to write our CV’s (en francais et en anglais). Most of the emphasis here is having the perfect resume.

  2. …one of our top Managers is a black American female, based in NY. She’s married with kids, travels the world and looks fantastic. I read an interview with her in our local paper. Without her sport regiment, she wouldn’t be able to continue being in her position. She’s tight colleagues with our CEO, who’s also American, in fact, he hand-picked her…

  3. …what I meant by not being able to continue being in her position is that because she has to travel a lot, has 3 (young)kids, a husband and home, she needs to be in top physical condition to make this spagat with grace, poise and smarts. Being physically fit helps.

  4. What you’ve wrote here must be commended. I am a career development coach at “A” List Candidates, LLC. I’ve found that many students (more so black students) are not insightful to the trends of today’s job market. Just having a college degree these days is simply not enough! New grads must demonstrate resourcefulness, leadership, experience, know-how, individuality/team ship, motivation, etc…..all these must be evident on their resumes. Hiring managers’ review tons of resumes weekly; thus, they don’t have time to go looking for hidden skills within cover letters and resumes. They determine whether a candidate meets their requirements within minutes. So important, RELEVANT qualifications, but be obvious within a minute or less.

    My quote: If the old way is not working, polish yourself anew. Doing the same thing expecting different results is madness!

    • I didn’t write the article (see source), but I certainly agree with its message and I have certainly put these suggestions into practice. These suggestions are exactly what I hear recruiters requesting to see on resumes when they come to college campuses like my own.

      Hiring managers’ review tons of resumes weekly; thus, they don’t have time to go looking for hidden skills within cover letters and resumes. They determine whether a candidate meets their requirements within minutes. So important, RELEVANT qualifications, but be obvious within a minute or less.

      Exactly!!!!

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