Hello, my name is Alyssa Zimmerman. I am a recent graduate of Philadelphia University, majoring in Professional Communications. I am currently working full time as an Engineering Assistant in the Air National Guard while I am searching for the right fit in my career. Coming from a small town in Pennsylvania, I keep myself busy by writing (a lot!), reading, running, and spending a lot of time with friends and family. College has taught me a lot, not only about my career field, but about life in general.
If there is one thing that I could redo in college, it would be to get involved. Get involved on campus, off campus, anywhere you can. Participating in an array of activities helps you in so many ways, and more than just your resume.
I know the first reaction to that “get involved” statement. You’re too busy, you have too much schoolwork, or you won’t have time for friends or partying or doing your own thing. Trust me, you’ll have plenty of time to live it up in college – whatever that might mean to you. But there is no better time than in college to get involved in clubs, non-profits, activities, or community events. It sets you up for a better future, and also makes you stand out in a sea of thousands of college graduates and job applicants. Still not convinced? Here’s three reasons why getting involved is one of the best decisions you could make.
1. Your Resume – I know I said it’s more than just your resume, but we’ll start somewhere that will benefit your career first. If you’re lacking in the experience section of your resume, all that volunteer work will make up for any skills you can learn on the job. Employers are expecting good communication skills, people skills, and a candidate that will bring something to their business – all things you learn while volunteering.
2. Connections – Whether you did or didn’t like a certain volunteer experience, it still gives you an opportunity to network. I cannot stress enough how important it is to network. I wish I had paid more attention to this during college. Where else are you that you are surrounded by professionals in your field than when you are at college with professors and faculty that have that experience? The more you get involved, the more connections you’ll make, which will benefit you in so many ways. It could lead to a job, a really good reference for that dream job you’re trying to land, or just good connections that help you get your job done when you do finally find your career.
3. Future Habits – You finally earned that degree, and now you’re starting your first day at your job. The days come and go, but you’re still itching to do more. If you set yourself up in college to be involved with a multitude of activities, that will carry over to your professional life. And staying involved while you are employed gives you the same benefits mentioned above, but also shows your employer that you are more than whatever title they gave you. You are showing any future employer that you are worth that raise, or that promotion. You are also setting yourself up for new challenges and experiences. Or, if you find that your job isn’t a fit for you, you now have many connections and different directions that you can use and take to help you find the right career path.
I’ll say once again – networking is so important, and volunteering and getting involved helps you do this. There are so many more benefits to getting involved, but I hope these three will push you enough to find those out for yourself.