Get Involved Now to Get Ahead Later

Students signing up at the Student Involvement Fair during Welcome Week 2013. Photo Credit: Gabi Valladares

Students signing up at the Student Involvement Fair during Welcome Week 2013
Photo Credit: Gabi Valladares

This article was written by Gabi Valladares, a recent alumna and now Coordinator of Social Media Marketing and Virtual Engagement in the Center for Student Involvement on campus as a guest blogger for The Works.

Five years in college can sound like a lifetime to some, but it flies by when you’re on co-op, studying abroad, or participating in a dialogue.  Before you know it, you’ll be out in the “real world” and on the search for a full-time position, along with just about every other college graduate.

Fortunately, Northeastern University has over 300 student organizations that can help with your skill development and aid in preparing you for life after college. Employers value leadership roles and community involvement and look for that experience when vetting candidates. Career Services can help you highlight that experience on your resume. Here are just a few of the ways you can get involved on campus and ahead of your job market competition:

1. Take on an executive position.  

If you are involved with a student organization and feel that you’re ready to take on a leadership role, run for a position on the executive board!  This will provide you with great leadership training, which is often something employers ask about during interviews.  You will also feel more comfortable having had this experience when you’re asked to take lead on a project or partnership in the future.

2. Represent your student organization at networking and on campus events. 

The Center for Student Involvement, along with other offices and departments around campus, often host events that showcase the student organizations we have here at Northeastern University.  If you can work a few of these events into your schedule each year, we highly suggest representing your group during one of them.  This will help not only in increasing your numbers, but will also provide you with the opportunity to practice “pitching” your organization to potential members and partnering organizations.  Networking is a major part of finding a new job and connecting with those in your field, so we suggest getting some networking practice while you’re still in school.

3. Partner with other student groups and committees around campus. 

In most companies or organizations, you will be working within a team.  Whether you are a part of a small team or leading a large group, it is always important to have teamwork skills under your belt.  Sometimes, this means branching out from your typical comfort zone and connecting with other student groups that have similar missions and/or purposes.  Partnerships can be formed for any number of reasons, but we often see groups working together to co-host events.

4. Attend a conference with your student organization. 

Depending on what type of group you are involved with on campus, there could be any number of conferences or seminars that might be applicable to your organization.  Test out your leadership and networking skills by taking your organization to one of these events.  You’ll probably end up attending at least a few more of these throughout your professional career and we all know that being prepared can’t hurt!

Of course, these are only a few of the ways that your involvement with activities and student organizations can help you develop your professional skills.  Keep an open mind and always be on the lookout for experiences that will benefit you long after your college graduation.

Gabi Valladares is the Coordinator of Social Media Marketing and Virtual Engagement in the Center for Student Involvement.  As a recent Northeastern University alumna, she is ecstatic to be (once again) joining the University full-time.  To find out more about how you can get involved on campus, follow/tweet Gabi and the Center for Student Involvement on @434CSC.