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Monday, May 15, 2006

From student to Intern: Why Experience Counts

Since it's May, a lot of articles are being written about college kids and work. Some of what I've read suggests the opportunities for college grads has never been better while some suggest that our graduating seniors are struggling to figure out what they want to do in life.

This "paralysis" causes them to procrastinate in finding work. That's why you'll find many of them "taking the summer off" or picking up a job at a restaurant until they can find "something full-time". I know when I graduated in '92 the job market was pretty bad so I was a waiter for about 6 months until I landed my first job. But I don't think I would have landed that job - I was a Marketing Assistant for a sales team - without the experience I gained during college from internships and summer work.

I think too many college students don't do enough to plan for their career after graduation. As for myself, I had two jobs during school that enabled me to fill up that all important "Experience" section of my résumé. My work as a Student Manager in the cafeteria and my internship as the Business Manager of the student newspaper gave me the stepping stones I needed after leaving school.

Last week I hired my own Intern... Tyler is a 21 year-old web whiz from the Wentworth Institute of Technology. He knows the value of "resume building". He's already created several websites at school and this summer he'll be working on a wide variety of web sites under my tutelage. He told me he wants to gain more "business skills" with this internship and I think he's on the right track for a stellar career in the online industry.

So if you are a college student and reading this, take some time to assess yourself and if you are leaning towards one career or another, do everything you can to make that a reality. Gain some experience now or at some point before you graduate. Find an internship or other related work. Contact companies you might like to work for. Get a foot in the door. Doing so will get your career started on the right path.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Getting from college to career is not easy task, and I was no exception. Yes, Experience is extremely important. But how to you make up for "lack" of experience? .... Transferable Skills!
Transferable Skills are simply taking experiences and skills you have and transfer them to express how they apply to the world of work. For example, if you organized a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity you may have made a plan, built and led a team, created a marketing campaign and raised $10,000. In the business world this could be seen as enterprising, creative problem solving, leadership, interpersonal effectiveness, goal focus and getting the job done.
So instead of being depressed you "lack" experience and its too late, make a list of your accomplishments and if necessary get a coach to help you transfer those skills into impressive experience. It worked for me!

Nicole
www.MyCareerRx.com