Students who work as they go through college with internships, part-time and summer jobs give themselves an important advantage in the job market when they graduate. Since not all working students understand how they benefit from their work experiences, it is important for them to think about their jobs as a way to support their career goals. For that to happen, students should understand five factors that improve their odds for employment success:
1. Experience - Knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things. Employees who are experienced can anticipate problems and know how to handle the issues that crop up. They quickly get things running smoothly again and can maximize productivity. Since some skills and abilities only come with experience, employers love candidates who have already demonstrated their capabilities and work ethic in the workplace. Real world emergencies, accidents, mistakes, equipment failures and the difficulties and pressures that go with them will test any employee. The way students react to them depends on the experience and understanding they gain on the job.
2. Performance - Employers seek candidates who will perform well for them. Although doing well in the classroom is highly desirable, that doesn’t always translate into good performance on the job for every student. That’s why employers want to see or learn about a student’s job performance every place they have worked. The more positive comments they hear from previous employers, the more likely it is that they will have a serious interest in the student.
3. Reliability - Employers select employees who are reliable. They show up every day on time and are ready to work. These employees are highly productive. They regularly exceed quantity, quality and timeliness requirements. They always get the job done, even when they are unsupervised. Being someone an employer can count on is critical to employment success.
4. People - Employers are usually more interested in candidates who get along well with and are respected by others in the workplace. They know that the workplace often requires collaboration, cooperation and teamwork, in order to get the job done well. Students who get along well with coworkers and help them achieve results will be in high demand.
For students, the workplace is where they build relationships with people who can help them in the job market. There are people in the workplace who can help students gain the information and training they need to perform at a high level. Students should also look for other employees to include in their employment networks. Additionally, when students impress company executives with their performance, those executives may be willing to serve as references and may even offer students full-time jobs when they graduate.
5. Accomplishments - Employers try to hire people who learn quickly, work hard, help them make money, create harmony and efficiency in the workplace and strengthen relationships with customers. Therefore, students with Internships, part-time and summer jobs can create an impressive resumé by emphasizing their accomplishments in these areas.
Students who view college jobs as merely a source of spending money, without considering these five points, are missing out on important opportunities to make themselves highly attractive to the employers with the best jobs at graduation. The most effective students always use those work experiences to learn something new, perform at a high level, meet new people, establish relationships, add to their list of accomplishments, build their brands and enhance their reputations.