Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Starting a Club Equals Your Best Internship

Many students use club membership titles as resume fodder without gleaning valuable experience from those titles. This practice is dually beneficial and self-cheating. The student who utilizes titles will win employers’ attention straight away. The student who gleans experience from such titles will be a more valuable asset in the end, however. Club titles can certainly bulk up a resume. An officer’s appointment will make the resume even stronger. An active participant or officer, however, will gain valuable work experience that may be hard to find in a competitive workplace that demands experience from the beginning. Personal relations, organization, management of time, project management, networking and financial planning are some of the skills obtained as a club member or officer.

In college, students are given license to make mistakes that they would not be able to make in a job situation. Starting a club, or becoming an active member or officer, can be the best internship. The student who does so will learn many of the arms that are inherent in a small business. The student plans events, recruits members, and plans fundraisers and advertising campaigns. In the case that the student comes upon roadblocks, or complete crashes in the road, he or she can seek out advice from the many professors and leaders on campus who have already experienced those roadblocks. From the school’s Dean to the Student Activities administrators, information and advice abound.

Many internships at colleges cost tuition. Some are paid. Many internships use their interns to push paper, or fulfill menial tasks. This type of internship can leave a student disgruntled, since the idea behind such an activity is to glean work experience. The only way to be sure that work experience is gleaned, is to make an opportunity, or utilize the opportunities that are available.

**originally published in the Sigma Tau Delta High Plains Newsletter, Fall 2007: http://www.niu.edu/sigmatd/pdf/regions/hp_fall07.pdf