You probably think your resume won’t matter until you enter the “real world”—that ambiguous time after college that your parents and professors are always referring to. Well you’re wrong! Your resume matters right now. Why? Because you can take active steps to improve your resume even if you’re still in school, making it that much easier to find a job once you graduate. Here’s how to improve your resume while in school:
Get an on-campus job during the semester.
Working while you study will show future employers that you’re not just hardworking, but also good at managing your time. Both assets are invaluable and can distinguish your resume from all the others. Working on-campus will also ease your commute time and will make the scheduling process significantly easier. Try the library, food services, the bookstore, and your major department for openings.
Find a summer job during break.
Working during the summer months is a great way to earn cash. Plus, future employers will be impressed by your no-break-needed attitude. So why waste your summer months just lounging around?
Do an internship that actually matters.
Internships, especially unpaid internships, may not sound like fun, but they’re still a great way to get experience, contacts in the industry, and reference letters—all of which will prove vital when you start applying for jobs. But remember: not all internships are created equal. Search for one with real job responsibilities in your field of study. Don’t settle for fetching coffee.
Apply for scholarships and other academic awards.
Employers aren’t just looking for qualified employees. They’re looking for qualified employees that work hard and have distinction. Fortunately, scholarships and awards—in addition to their financial benefits—come with the prestige needed to distinguish yourself. Check with your major department and your financial aid office for leads. You can also find scholarships in our Scholarship Center.
Seek out leadership positions.
Don’t settle for joining a club when you can start one on your own. Or join a club with growth potential! Start out as a regular member, but stick with it throughout your college career. Maybe by the end you’ll be president of Chess Club. Or, if you’ve got the spirit of public service, why not run for student office? Positions of power and responsibility will make your resume shine.
Benjamin Franklin once said there were only two certainties in this world: death and taxes. But we’d like to add the high cost of college to that list. Even after tuition you’ve got room and board, textbooks, and living and travel expenses to consider. But all is not lost!
Here are 7 ways to earn extra cash in college:
1. Get a job on campus
So what if you have to actually work for your money? On-campus jobs are great. You get paid, have flexible working hours, and don’t need a car or a transit pass to commute to work. You can even earn money in between classes! Some jobs, like working at the library, may also allow you to get homework done. The only catch is that on campus jobs are in high demand, so get your application in early.
2. Donate plasma
If you’re not afraid of needles, donating plasma can be a great, easy, and conscientious way of earning money—usually between $20 and $40 per donation! Better yet, you can donate up to twice a week. Thankfully there are plasma donation centers all over the USA. To find one near you, check out DonatingPlasma.
3. Sell used stuff online
Got used textbooks lying around? Or used video games? Or even a used iPhone? Sell them for more money with ValoreBooks. Online price quotes are instant and shipping is free. The best part? ValoreBooks has the highest sell-back prices in the industry, meaning you always get more money from them than from anyone else.
4. Participate in research studies
The good thing about being on a college campus is that there are often research studies going on—which are often compensated. They could be medical, psychological, or even social, but play guinea pig and you’ll definitely get rewarded!
5. Babysit, pet-sit, or house-sit
6. Save your change
You’d be surprised how much your pocket change is worth. Keep a jar on your desk and save up your pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Don’t leave them under the couch cushions or lost at the bottom of your purse.
7. Have a yard sale
Uncluttering your life is rewarding for two reasons: it frees up room in your living space and scores you some extra money. Get rid of old clothes, old frames, old furniture—anything you’re not using anymore. Chuck that stuff out on the grass, throw up a few yard sale signs, then kick back and relax.
Although every interviewer is looking for something specific in a potential employee or intern, there are a few behaviors almost every interviewer hates. Avoid these interview pet peeves and you’ll be more likely to land your dream job or internship:
1. Showing up late
Showing up to an interview late instantly makes a bad first impression, which could cost you the job. So plan ahead by leaving home early and getting directions ahead of time.
2. Not making eye contact
Eye contact is one of the best ways to show you’re listening and interested in what the interviewer has to say. Although it might be tempting to look away when nervous, the best way to keep your eyes on the prize is to keep your eyes…on the interviewer.
3. Not doing your research
Every company has a ton of info on their website. Browse through it so you have a basic understanding of what it is the company does. This shows you’re proactive and engaged.
4. Not asking questions
Interviewers want to see that you’re excited and interested in their company. Come prepared with questions. Then develop a few more based on what your interviewer tells you about the company and the position they’re hiring for. Ask questions that pertain to business operations as well as your potential responsibilities.
5. Dressing inappropriately
You can never arrive to an interview dressed too professionally. In other words, it’s always better to show up overdressed than under-dressed. For guidance on what not to wear to an interview, click here.
6. Avoiding a question
If an interviewer asks a tough question and you don’t have an answer right away, don’t ramble about something off-topic. Instead,, take a second to think about it (not too long) before answering the question in the most direct, concise manner possible.
7. A weak handshake.
A firm handshake is key to showing your interviewer that you’re confident and strong-minded.
Along with verbal skills, experience, and practice, appearance and attire affect how you’re perceived during a job interview. That’s why you should do your best to show up looking as professional as possible. In other words, here’s what not to wear to an interview:
Even if you’ve got a decent pair of khaki shorts, you don’t want to show your legs at an interview. Play it safe a arrive in a nice pair of slacks.
2. White socks.
Leave your athletic socks at home and pick up a pair of navy blue or black socks that reach up the calf. You’re not planning on wearing athletic shoes to your interview, so why would you wear athletic socks?
3. Un-tucked shirt.
Tuck it in! Simple as that.
1. Short skirts.
If you plan on wearing a skirt to your interview, make sure it’s an appropriate length. As a rule of thumb, your skirt should not show your thighs while seated.
2. Too much makeup/jewelry.
Makeup and jewelry can help you look your best, but layering too much on can make you look more like a flashy pop diva than a job applicant.
3. Open-toed shoes.
Many offices have policies against open toed shoes. Rule of thumb: make sure your toes are covered when dressing for your interview.
1. Anything on your head.
Even if you had a bad hair day, your head should never be covered at an interview. This includes everything from hats to sunglasses rested on the head, which are easy to forget about.
2. Strong smelling fragrances.
Take it easy on the perfume or cologne. Although it’s important to smell good, too strong of a scent might distract your interviewer.
Leave your jeans or colored pants at home. Khakis, slacks, or skirts/dresses are the way to go.
Remember – you have 7 seconds to make a good first impression, so make every second count! You want your interviewer to focus on your smile, good handshake, and amazing personality – not your poor fashion choices.
Getting educated is hard work. Unfortunately paying for it is even harder. That’s why summer is a good time to replenish your bank account. And yes, we know it’s only March. But planning ahead is the best way to secure summer employment. Here are tips to help:
1. Apply early.
There’s one mantra to remember when looking for a summer job: the earlier you apply, the better. Most students are looking for summer jobs and there may not be enough for everyone.
2. Take advantage of the seasonal hiring surge.
Many restaurants, resorts, camps, and parks need students for temporary summer positions. Take advantage of that hiring surge by applying at these places first.
3. Know where else to look.
Summer means lots of people are leaving on vacation, which means there may be a lot of part-time or temporary work available. Check with libraries, banks, and your own college campus for opportunities.
Tell people you’re actively looking for work, whether that’s your parents, your parents’ friends, your professors, guidance counselors, or any other adult in your life. They may know of availabilities. And better yet, they may serve as a reference, which is especially important if you haven’t had a job before.
5. Practice interviews ahead of time.
Interviews can be stressful. That’s why you should practice ahead of time. Have your parents or friends ask you questions while you answer them on the fly. Also consider asking a teacher or guidance counselor to help if you’re looking for more realistic preparation. Check out this blog post to learn how to ace odd interview questions you might be asked!
Good luck and happy searching!