It’s the beginning of another new school year—time to get excited for school activities as you start to hit the books! Just as important as the textbooks and projects, though, are the extracurricular activities. Why? Because the activities that you’re involved in now are the things that will help distinguish you from other applicants you when you’re applying for jobs later. If you don’t have any groups that you’re a part of yet, then don’t panic—there are always opportunities to get involved on campus.
You may be asking will joining groups really make that much of a difference? The answer is yes. Being involved on campus not only shows that you’re an engaged and proactive member of your community who enjoys accepting challenges, but it also furnishes you with valuable skills that employers look for when your resume ends up on their desk. When you find an organization that appeals to you, don’t just join to join, either—dive right in! Join a committee, take on a leadership role, be a part of something that you can point to and be proud that you helped make it happen. Having expereince in organizing events, working with different groups of people, collaborating as a team, building a model, designing a flyer, etc. will help to set you apart. Whatever you did, being able to discuss it with a potential employer shows that you have applicable skills that make you more desirable than your fellow candidates. In the majority of job or internship positions that you’ll apply for, every other applicant will have or be working towards a college degree. Setting yourself apart and showing that you did more than just take classes and pass tests could be the difference between getting an interview or moving onto the next application.
Remember too that joining a group should not be a chore or something to simply list on your resume—you should be involved in such a way that your extracurricular activity truly becomes something that you value. Purdue has over 800 student organizations to get involved in. With that many options available, why not choose something that interests you? This is important for two reasons. First, because when audiences or individuals listen to you speak, it’s easy for them to tell when you’re genuinely passionate about your topic. When employers see your passion for something that you’ve done in the past, it’s easier for them to picture you applying that same passion to their company in the future. But the second reason that choosing something you enjoy is important is this: because you deserve it. This is your college experience, and you have the power to make it into whatever you want it to be. Don’t spend four years, two years, or even more than a semester doing something you truly don’t enjoy, simply to list it on a resume. These are your four years–take charge of them. Get involved today!