Get Involved: How Non-Academic Activities Can Prepare You for the Workforce

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At this point of the year, with finals and summer quickly approaching, it can be difficult to keep your long-term career goals in mind. So, here's your weekly motivation to remind you that career preparedness is a long process that starts with everyday action;, especially outside of your academic pursuits! Here are 5 traits that companies are looking for that you can gain through non-school related activities:

 

1. Self-Advocacy -- This is a key skill to develop! When going through the hiring process, no one is going to be there to tell the interviewer how great you are. YOU need to be your biggest advocate! This starts with knowing your strengths as a team player and as an individual, as well as recognizing where you need to improve. To help you get started, YouRock is an excellent career-building tool that helps you identify what areas you excel in and which areas need development. Pushing yourself to apply for competitive positions gets you in the practice of building on your strengths and identifying your weaknesses

 

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2. Leadership -- Involving yourself in extracurriculars early gives you a chance to advance your skill set, as well as gives you the opportunity to advance to a leadership position within your team or organization. Effective leadership stems from understanding the needs of the people around you and advocating for positive change!

 

3. Teamwork -- Though being able to lead is key, it’s also important to know when to take a step back and play to the strengths of your co-workers. Employers are looking for those who encourage those around them and work well with others! Entering yourself in a team competition or participating in a sport are great ways to develop these skills.

 

4. Persistence -- Even though things might not always go your way, you have to learn to be able to take the initiative to keep going. Employers want workers who keep working at a problem until it’s solved, even if the first (or several) attempt(s) fail at first. You can work on this skill by applying to jobs or internships outside of your schoolwork.

 

5. Communication -- Last, but definitely not least! Effective communication is arguably the most important skill to have when looking to secure a job, as well as in the working world in general. Volunteering is a great way to improve your communication skills, as the best way to do so is to listen to other people and respond to their needs. This will allow you to come into contact with types of people that you might not have before, encouraging you to learn how to adapt your methods of communication to engage in effective dialogue.


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Remember, it’s up to you to determine your future! Keep these skills in mind as you decide what extracurriculars to pursue. Best of luck!