There's a reason many of us laughed at the recent satirical Onion article about a guy with a bachelor's degree in communications who instantly landed a six-figure job after college: It doesn't typically happen. You often need more than a bachelor's degree to get a job after graduation.
But this isn't about needing a master's degree. It's more about what you do while you're earning your bachelor's degree.
Here are three ways to build up your resume while you're earning your bachelor's degree.
1. Complete internships
One of the best ways to build your resume in college is through relevant internships. You may even land a job at the place where you landed your internship.
According to a Scholarships.com article on building your resume in college, "Even if your internship doesn't result in employment with that company, it still gives you the chance to see what that job is like and to get an idea of how it's performed within a professional setting. You may even find your internships change your mind about your career goals, either focusing them or redirecting them towards something that works better for you."
See? There really is no downside to internships, in most cases. Do one or more and watch your resume shine.
2. Work and volunteer
Volunteering, according to Scholarships.com, can really give your resume some "sparkle and meaning and depth."
"For most students, college is the last time in their lives they won't have to work, so choosing to take their precious free time and give it to a charity shows compassion and commitment, two things that are likely to be valued by a variety of employers," the article reads.
And don't think your jobs in college don't mean anything, even if they seem totally irrelevant to your career field. Jobs in retail or on campus can illuminate your work ethic, longevity and loyalty. According to a September 2013 article on U.S. News & World Report, there are even some jobs you can work in college that will "turbocharge your resume," like these seven:
- Social media coordinator
- Campus brand ambassador
- Help desk staffer or computer salesperson
- Office of institutional research assistant
- Career center staffer
- Group exercise teacher
- Chief executive of your own startup
But don't worry if you can't land these specific positions. There are plenty more jobs that can turbocharge your resume, depending on your major and how you present it on your resume. Don't stay idle during college: Earn your bachelor's degree and bring some work or volunteer experience to the table as well.
3. Seek out and flaunt those class projects
Don't think that what you do in school is meaningless. If you're majoring in something that leads to class projects, such as art portfolios or business plans, you can absolutely add it to your resume.
One website for college students that especially emphasizes class projects is MyEdu.com. On this website, students can link with employers and vice versa, and can include class projects in their profiles. Another option is creating an online resume and portfolio on your own website or a site like Tumblr. If you take this route, then you'll purchase a domain name, pay a fee (monthly or annually) to a Web host, and either get a designer or find a nice looking template. Then one of your tabs can be "portfolio" or "projects," where you can flaunt your class projects to employers and friends.
Even seeking out classes during college where you know you'll produce something tangible could be wise, assuming it doesn't postpone your graduation and is actually relevant to your field. The point here is, don't take the easy way out. Choose your classes wisely, so you can impress employers after graduation.
Don't end up the subject of a funny Onion parody. Complete one or more internships, one or more jobs or volunteer projects, and one or more class projects. They could help you land a decent job after graduation, and promote your skills in addition to earning a bachelor's degree.
"Company Immediately Calls Job Applicant Upon Seeing 'B.A. In Communications' On Résumé," theonline.com, March 14, 2013, http://www.theonion.com/articles/company-immediately-calls-job-applicant-upon-seein,31669/?ref=auto
"7 College Jobs That Will Turbocharge Your Resume," usnews.com, September 11, 2013, Courtney Rubin, http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2013/09/11/7-college-jobs-that-will-turbocharge-your-resume
"Employment: Building a Résumé in College," scholarships.com, https://www.scholarships.com/resources/after-college/employment-after-college/employment-building-a-résumé-in-college/