You are a UCF Business student at the second largest university in the country. Large schools equates to a lot of resources for you to utilize. But are you? My guess is that you are not. You are consumed with the everyday routine of going to class, working a side job, and spending time with friends. Which in part is what you should be doing, but you should be taking advantage of much more. As a business student we expect you to be proactive, not reactive. What does this mean? It means taking advantage of all of the resources before it’s too late. Or more pointedly, use these resources before your senior year when you are about to graduate and realize, “Oh gosh, I’m graduating and all I have on my resume is 4 months of work experience at Publix.” Let me first say there is nothing wrong with working at Publix, they are a fantastic company to work for but if you don’t want to grow with them your college career could have been better spent by taking advantage of additional opportunities. So I challenge each and every one of our business students to be the proactive student by engaging in some of the following.
- Join Business Clubs. UCF has a club for almost anything. Being an active in student organizations is a great way to add depth to your resume. Bonus points for being an officer in the organization! Don’t limit yourself to social organizations; if you want to work in corporate, join a business club that meets your goals. Be a member that does more than just paying the dues and actually actively attend the meetings. You are only hurting yourself by not engaging in the organization. You can see the Office of Professional Development for a full listing of business clubs.
- Seek internships. I realize a lot of you have to pay bills and work part-time and even full-time while attending college. But why not find a paying internship that can help you gain experience and really help you see if you are on the right path? Working an internship is the best way for you to see if your career goals really make sense for you. If you hate it, then you still have time to find your passion! Unpaid internships are worth their while. You sometimes get a more rewarding experience from an unpaid internship. Use campus resources listed below and sites like indeed.com and internship websites to find opportunities.
- Go to Career Fairs. UCF hosts a Career Expo ever semester. They also have separate career fairs for internships and some clubs host their own. Go to these now and enhance your networking skills and use it to start looking for relevant experience. If you are a Sophomore I still urge you to go to a Career Fair. They are not only looking for graduating students, they are at times also looking for part-time needs and internships. Plus meeting a recruiter early on is never a bad thing!
- Utilize Career Services http://career.ucf.edu/ See below for just a few of their highlights.
- Attend Mock Interviews. They have resources to set you up with their staff and film your interview to allow you to see your gestures and how many times the words “um” and “like” come out of your vocabulary. They will also give you some great feedback to help you interview better in the future.
- Attend Employer Information Sessions. Employers are constantly on campus to recruit. These sessions are designed to tell you who they are and what they are looking for. It’s a great way to learn about companies and make connections.
- Attend Employer Facilitated Workshops. Again employers are here on campus to talk to you. These sessions are facilitated to teach you more about a specific topic. However, since the employer is the one sponsoring it is also a great way to make a contact at that company.
- Sign up for Experiential learning. http://explearning.ucf.edu/contact/79 Remember me saying that you should find internships? This is the hub for all employers partnered with UCF looking for interns. They have 2 advisors dedicated to our business students to help you find a perfect internship! You will find part-time, full-time, paid, and unpaid opportunities. To qualify you must have a 2.5 overall GPA and have earned 20 college credit hours.
- Sign up for KnightLink. http://career.ucf.edu/knightlink KnightLink hosts full-time and part-time positions that employers are currently search for. Sometimes these positions are only posted through KnighLink. It’s another great way to find experience.
- Resume Review. Lost with what to include on your resume? You can visit Career Services to some great guidance.
- Read your emails from Doris Alcivar. I know you all get a TON of emails. But if you are wanting to be the proactive, not reactive student read her emails!! Doris is the Career Services liaison for Business students so she sends you the hot jobs from KnightLink, and all the information listed above letting you know when employers are on. You should jump for joy when you see emails from her, not dump for junk.
- Meet with your Career coach for an active conversation. We are here for:
- Career Exploration. Know you want to do marketing but not sure which specific job? Or maybe you have researched a specific job but want to set up a plan of action to get you there. Or maybe you have two job offers and you want advice about what is best for you. We can help with all of these situations and more.
- Resume Review. We were all prior HR/Recruiters and have an idea or two of what can make your resume look great. J
- Mock Interviews. Another interview resource. You can come in and meet with us individually to prep you for interviews. Interviewing is never easy, but the more you comfortable with it you are the better you will be!
- Get to know your professors. Our faculty come from all different backgrounds. They can be a great industry resource for you! Have a conversation with them about your goals and listen to their suggestions. They are here to help you.
- Be active in the Blackstone LaunchPad. Interested in opening your own business? LaunchPad is the perfect place for you! They have free, confidential startup coaching to get you through the process. Not to mention they have really amazing entrepreneurs come in to speak about their story and give you advice. http://ucf.thelaunchpad.org/
- Consider studying abroad. Experiencing a new country and getting yourself out of your comfort zone is a truly rewarding experience. You will learn more about yourself and other cultures than you would have ever imagined. Another bonus is you pay UCF tuition for courses overseas! Amazing, right? Plus it’s also another way to add experience to your resume that will excite recruiters! http://business.ucf.edu/study-abroad/
- Read and research! Read Dean Jarely’s Blog, The Office of Professional Development’s Blog, read articles on Forbes, articles on Orlando Jobs, articles from Business Journals, and other publications. Having a pulse on the business world is key and it will create great talking points for you when network! Also research different jobs and industries that you may be interested. Remember in elementary school when they would say the cliché phrase that knowledge is power. Yes, I’m agreeing with it and I want you to be powerful!
- Visit tutoring hours. If you are struggling in some of your courses do something more than complain about how hard it is. Take the extra time and talk with your professor about a concept that may be hard for you and seek out tutoring. The courses in your major are there to educate you on things you will need to know in your future job so it’s worth your while to master it now.
- Network! Every day you come across opportunities to network. Even working at your part-time job, you tend to come across professionals that you can connect with. Use social media and attend events to meet industry professionals. Learn from them, get advice from them.
Now go out there and make me proud!