How to improve your resume

Lacy Bursick is a multimedia journalist, photographer, social media specialist, event coordinator, communications specialist, artist and hula hooper. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Telecommunications from Ball State University in Dec. 2013. In college, she studied abroad in Argentina studying travel writing and photography. Currently, Lacy lives in Atlanta, Georgia working as an associate producer for CBT News and Car Biz Today magazine. She hopes to one day go to grad school to further expand her education. For more information go to lacybursick.com

Landing your first real job out of college can be a daunting process. It takes time, patience and a lot of networking. The only way to set yourself apart from the crowd is to begin building your resume as early as possible.

I recently went to help a friend who had just graduated with his resume. The only thing he could come up with was his education and a serving job he had picked up 3 months over the summer. I asked him what he did in college and he said he wasn’t really sure. Don’t let this be you! College is supposed to be an exploratory time for you to try new things and grow as a person.

From day one, it’s best to get involved with your university community and begin to build your experience. Here is a list of things you can do during college to boost your resume. When you graduate and embark on the job search, you will stand out from the crowd!

1. Intern

Yes, being an intern sucks because you are the lowest on the totem pole, but it is the best way to get hands on experience. It allows you to test out your career field.

Finding an internship can be hard, so attend networking events at your school and ask older students where they have interned. Try to find a company that interests you so that you learn and enjoy your experience. Yes, there will be tedious work like entering 100 calendar events into a content management system, but hopefully there will be some perk like free concert tickets.

Most schools offer credit for interning. If you aren’t receiving college credit, then you should receive a stipend or minimum wage because The Fair Labor Standards Act says its illegal to work for free. I have rejected an internship for the company of my dreams because they refused to pay me.

The ideal intern experience will allow you to learn, gain industry experience and give you something to talk about in future interviews. It could even lead to a job for after graduation, and then maybe you’ll get your own intern to be responsible for.

2. Join a student organization

Rock climbing club. Intermural Soccer. Newspaper. Storm chaser club. Quidditch (yes, the Harry Potter game). You name it, and your university probably has it. And if they don’t have what you’re looking for, start your own club! Most colleges encourage student organizations and it’s just a few forms to make it happen.

Joining a student organization allows you to meet students with similar interests and be involved with something you care about. It also gives you a better answer than ‘uh, party?’ when Grandma asks what you do at college during Thanksgiving dinner.

3. Study Abroad

Picking up the brochure for Argentina was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I earned 6 credits for taking photos and writing about my experience while staying in Buenos Aires.

I got to see landmarks like the Pink House (yes, their capital is the pink house instead of white). I got to dance the tango and drink local wine. I ate the best-cut steak at real parrillas (Argentine grill). I spoke espanol. I got to experience another culture first hand. I developed a respect for differences– I will never roll my eyes at someone foreign who is trying to speak English ever again. It helped me understand the world and it made me a better person¬¬¬– a cultured person.

4. Become a member for a sorority, fraternity or other society

Greek life experience can vary from campus to campus. It has its stereotypes and in some cases they can be true. But overall, joining Greek life allows you to meet friends, participate in charity work and events and network with people who could be valuable to know later down the road.

It could be a talking point in a future interview when your boss reminisces his sigma chi days. It also shows you were able to commit to something.

If you ever feel uncomfortable, experience hazing, or get a bad feeling about an organization, you can also choose to no longer participate.

5. Work a job

Students who work part-time have slightly higher grade point averages than students who don’t work, according to this study.

I know flipping burgers or running the checkout at your local Kmart does not seem like it could benefit your career, but in actuality you are practicing working. Allow it to motivate you to work hard in school so that you can get a job that you actually like.

You are learning how to be reliable, responsible and interact with people. You will be forced to learn time management. You will also have money to take the girl in your chem lab on a real date.

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