You’ve gained valuable transferable skills as a college student that can be used in the job search.
Recent and soon-to-be college graduates are faced with so much pressure. Where should you apply for jobs? Are you going to relocate? Do you have enough experience to get the job you really want? What exactly do you put on that resume everyone keeps saying you need?
Believe it or not, your college experiences have prepared you for your first entry-level job in many ways, particularly by helping you gain important transferable skills. Transferable skills are the skills you’ve developed that are relevant in several or all industries. These skills come from clubs and organizations you were a part of, part-time jobs you held outside of school, tutoring positions, internships, work-study assignments, and even class projects.
Below are tips on how to capitalize on the transferable skills you may have gained from six common college experiences. You can use these as a starting point when evaluating your own skill set.
Clubs and organizations are great ways to learn skills
Student organizations are a fun way to meet people and enhance your college experience. They also have the added benefit of boosting your resume since being a part of one teaches you the valuable transferable skills you need to succeed.
If you were a member of a club or organization, you can include any projects, community improvement, or fundraisers you participated in. These experiences translate to skills like project management, collaboration, time management, fundraising, funds management, relationship building, and communications.
If you held a leadership role in a club or organization, you have even more transferable skills you can add to the list: leadership, recruitment, project development, budget management, event coordination, meeting coordination, and other relevant skills depending upon the type of organization.
Depending on how active your participation was, you could also include marketing, public speaking, promotion, organization, writing, and cultural adaption.
Part-time and summer jobs contain many transferable skills
Many students have part-time or summer jobs. While these positions may be short in tenure and might seem unworthy of a professional resume, they should be included. For similar jobs, such as a clerk at a grocery store and a convenience mart, you can combine them as one under job experience since the skill sets will be the same: customer service, relationship building, cross-functional teamwork, facility maintenance, transactions, and communications.
If you worked on projects across several departments, you can pull skills from each area. If you’re unsure which skills to showcase, search for your current job description on a job-search engine and review the requirements listed.
Tutoring can be more than educational
Many students tutor others in college. Tutoring is a great way to learn skills in education, leadership, guidance, communications, collaboration, time management, and relationship building.
Some tutors work in a tutoring center while others are assigned to a specific student with special tutoring needs. Contingent on the tutoring topic, you could highlight the specific skills you teach. An example would be a tutor in the campus writing center, where you developed skills in proofreading, editing, and reviewing papers.
Group projects teach more than the topic assigned
Everyone groans when they hear “group project,” but they really do help you develop very important real-world skills necessary for most positions. You learn to manage time, develop milestones, delegate tasks, and contribute to a team. When you are a leader, you learn skills such as project management, leadership, and team development.
You also learn tenacity, work ethic, problem resolution, and critical thinking — all are transferable skills you will use in your first post-graduate job.
Work-study assignments strengthen administration skills
Completing an on-campus work-study assignment can often mean the development of administrative and clerical duties. These skills are relevant in many careers, so they are transferable dependent on what jobs you are applying for.
Many work-study positions teach you collaboration, coordination, schedule management, multi-phone line direction, mail delegation, file management, technical proficiencies, attention to detail, and relationship building.
Some work-study positions allow students to gain valuable experience specific to their major. If this is the case, definitely highlight it on your resume!
Internships provide real-world experience
Not all college students are fortunate enough to get an internship, but if you are, the skills you learn will be a great addition to your resume. You’ll gain real-world experience in your chosen industry while strengthening the skills you already have.
If you are lucky enough to have multiple internships — so many that they push your resume beyond the one-page mark — group them together by relevance so you can include job titles but combine skills. This will help you save valuable resume real estate while still highlighting each role you held.
No matter how you earned your skills during college, don’t worry. You can turn those experiences into marketable skills and use them to strengthen your resume! The above list contains common examples, but of course, everyone’s college experience is unique. Use the skills you’ve learned and developed to make your resume stand out amongst the crowd and launch yourself into your future career.
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