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By Bryan Custer and Michelle Duah
So you are a freshman, and your college adventure is just beginning.
You’re probably aware of how much time and learning stands between you and the career of your dreams — but did you know that you can start building a killer resumé right now?
Whether you already know what your dream job is or not, there are steps you can take today to give yourself an advantage when it comes to landing the perfect career.
It’s common for incoming college students to think they aren’t ready to go searching for a career as a freshman.
After all, you might just barely be beginning to learn about the field of study you’re entering.
Or maybe you’re not 100% sure exactly what you want to be pursuing as a career for the rest of your life.
So it’s pretty reasonable to think “I’m not ready yet” or “I’ll figure that out later” — right?
The problem is that this line of thinking might be preventing you from seeing all of the incredible opportunities you have right in front of you.
There are tons of resume-building experiences like participating in research, completing internships, student employment, working in a startup, or working with a professor on a professional side-project — just to name a few!
You just have to commit to start taking action before it feels like you’re ready.
The truth is, you might not ever feel ready to do the things that excite you or even scare you until you start doing them.
So don’t get caught in the trap of thinking you aren’t ready to do great and challenging things just because you haven’t graduated from college yet.
You are probably more ready than you think.
A common roadblock for recent graduates is finding job postings that require years of work experience just to apply, even if the job is supposed to be "entry-level”.
Getting engaged in the right activities while in college is one solution to this paradox.
How you spend your time in college, both in and out of the classroom, is the story you'll get to tell to potential employers, investors, or clients when you leave.
In fact, it’s the kind of “experience” they’re looking for!
The good news is that you won’t have to look far to find outlets for developing your skills and talents, and more often than not, a few will find you.
That’s why we recommend pursuing multiple paths of engagement while in school — you'll be able to tell a much better story at the end.
As you start to weigh your options keep these questions in mind to help you determine whether you’re signing up for the right thing:
Can I make this work? Logistically, financially, emotionally, all of the above. Adding something new to your life will affect everything else. You might have to drop or shift other commitments to add something new.
Do I want to do this? Ask yourself whether this new opportunity is something you actually want to do, because it’ll be difficult to maintain your motivation and performance if you don’t.
Will I learn something valuable doing this? Look for opportunities to grow as person, gain a skill (ideally one that’s in-line with the career you want), or meet people with experience or skills that can aid in your growth.
The next few years are going to be so much more than just academics.
Fortunately there are MANY ways you can be adding valuable experience for your resumé while you’re still in school.
But all that choice can be daunting, so that's exactly where Career and Professional Development Services can be especially useful to you.
We can help you identify career options that are right for someone like you, and then help you find opportunities for building the experience you'll need along the way — even if you’re not sure what kind of job you’re looking for.
Just keep in mind that if you’re planning on waiting until your junior or senior year to start seriously pursuing a dream career, you might be missing out on valuable experience.
Now is really the time to start taking action.
You are already someone who can overcome challenges and someone who can learn (that’s how you got here, remember?).
Your college chapter is an extension of all that, in which you get to keep choosing what you focus your time and abilities on.
Again, you’re more ready than you think.
And remember, we’re here to help!
Bryan Custer is an Assistant Director for Career and Professional Development Services at ASU, and holds a Master of Science in Higher Education
Michelle Duah is a writer and collaborator for the ASU Adulting 101 blog.
Sun Devils turn to ASU Adulting 101 to learn (some of) the things not taught in class. Not sure about how to do something? Need to connect with an expert? We got you.