I remember a conversation with an old friend, Andrew, while he was a college student. He recalled a time when he and a group of others were assigned together for an exam project. The marks would be shared as this will be treated as group work. As a result, they stand a better chance at passing the paper due to the collaboration of others. Andrew is a bright chap, extremely fast, both on his feet and his brain. He related to me how profoundly frustrating it was trying to get the other three boys just to come over for even the first brief to start work. He found out very quickly that they were so sure that they would pass because of the fact that they were paired with him and the lecturer refused to partner him with other hardworking students. Andrew would also discover very quickly that those boys were at a nightspot almost every night, drinking away their study loan. However, the project was completed single handedly, and the marks were shared.
Sounds rather unreal and too ridiculous to be true doesn’t it? But stories like these are so common these days. Students taking college as a honeymoon from school and parents with a new found freedom so different from school life. Parents, on the other hand, are quite disconnected to what’s really happening.
Volunteerism vs Idleness
A person doesn’t get paid for any volunteer work but you can get experience and put away idleness.
Idleness is when a person does nothing with their time. An active person readily values time and becomes a resourceful person, more so a problem solver. Employers would rather hire people who are active than ones that sit at home doing nothing. Do you know of anyone who is just sitting at home watching tv and drinking during the MCO?
Andrew was quite the volunteer in community projects. He was simply a creature of work, always busy and up to some kind of project such as soup kitchens, drama, decorations for any events and many more that might not fit this page.
Such a dependable person would make quite a resume of volunteerism don’t you think? This is what employers would like to see in a fresh graduates resume, someone who has not been idle. They want to see what you have and what you have been doing throughout your academic years in order to interpret the value you can bring. Andrew would easily pass that test as opposed to the other three. What do you think they would bring to the table if they had not changed their bad habits? A resume of idleness of course.
This is where volunteerism comes in. It is the only strength you need for a student resume that carries no employee experience. When you involve yourself in tasks from a young age, you will inevitably develop life skills as well as job skills and ethics. It gets better if you surround yourself with like minded individuals and find a mentor from among them who should impart these to you, further developing you into a capable person. Employers know that just because you have that diploma, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be exceptionally good at tasks.
So case in point, a resume is not just for working people, which shows work experience and history. A resume is a certification of one’s value, hence, you can only produce a good resume if you have these good ingredients.
Other necessary skills employers look for:
1. Communication Skills.
We may have heard this one before. “Fluency in English is preferred”. But more than this is the confidence of saying what you want to say on point and concisely without fumbling up words. Confidence in communication and delivery is a rare art form. Those who can do this don’t hesitate with “um’s” and “aah’s” while delivering a sentence. Have you seen some people being interviewed in the news? It almost seems like they are making things up as they go along when they speak. It takes practice for you to be fluent, and never hesitate to speak in public if there are opportunities given. Your written skill should also be fairly good as well.
Teamwork is simply the ability to work with everyone to achieve the same goal. However, in teamwork, you are certain to meet someone who does not understand what it all means. You’re forced to work with someone who doesn’t want to work with you. But still, your chance to shine in this situation is to be the leader and get the job done by trusting and helping the rest of the team.
3. Critical Thinking and Resourcefulness.
This is the ability to think properly and in a logical way. The objective is to find out what is true and the outcome of that truth. Someone once said, “It’s thinking about thinking”. A critical thinker doesn’t believe the first thing that he hears, but rather checks and evaluates the facts to make sure he has unassailable reasons to believe so. The key to be a critical thinker is to always challenge your mind to explore new resources and come with certain decision making. The result of this is resourcefulness when you are trying to solve problems.
4. Other Areas
Other areas are extracurricular activities and student clubs. As a student, you should not shun such things. Things learnt here should also make their way into your resume. Just imagine if you were applying for a photography job. Joining the school or college photography club and learning the trade early would no doubt fast track you for a future job.
Photography isn’t the only trade a student can’t pick up early. How about carpentry, product design or graphic design? One more area which we would like you to seriously consider is reading. Yes, you heard us right. Reading anything that can prepare you for the job market can give you knowledge heads-on few possess. For instance, if you’re studying law, reading up actual case files readily available online can open up your mind to many angles that pertain to other similar cases. The options here are really endless.
In closing, when as a student you don’t have actual work experience in a company but if you could gather your vast involvement as a student and your long list of volunteer work that would count as real world exposure hence giving you a much higher edge against your peers who have none. Believe or not, once you gather all the competencies that employers are looking for in the market, not only your resume stands out but a higher chance for you to secure a good job.
For more tips on skills to include in your resume, click HERE.