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How to start getting professionally involved as an undergraduate

1) Start building your resume.

The first step in getting professionally involved as an undergraduate is to write your resume. The most crucial pieces of information to include are your high school and college information, areas of study, GPA, work experience, volunteer experience, extracurricular/sport experience, awards won, works published, and any other major achievements. Once you have your information listed, the door is wide open for you to add new items to the resume. All you have to do is seek out professional opportunities. Don't rush when you write! Take some time to perfect the formatting, spacing, and composition of the document. Be sure to proofread.

Figure out the type of work you are interested in.

The type of work you pursue should ultimately create a stronger resume. Community service is good material to add to your volunteering experience section. Internships are excellent doors to permanent jobs, especially if they align with your major, minor, or personal passions. There are lots of ways to get ideas for work: job fairs, meetings with your advisor, a Google search, or meeting new people at networking events.

2) Get connected.

The easiest way to get connected is to make a LinkedIn account. From there, fill in your profile with the details on your resume. Search for other people you know and add them to your online network: acquaintances from high school, acquaintances from college, friends from summer programs and internships, relatives, and anyone else you might know. The more connections you collect on LinkedIn, the stronger your profile will look to employers. LinkedIn also allows you to find job openings that match your interests and qualifications. If you attend a job fair or networking event, collect business cards and contact information from the people you meet. Even if you never contact them again, you'll never know when having connections like them will come in handy. Furthermore, you'll be able to get your name and contact information around to more professionals with more connections.

3) Fill out your applications

Whether you find a job application through LinkedIn, a personal contact, an employment site, or on the company webpage, the steps to filling out the application will have similar steps. Many openings require a cover letter explaining your qualifications and why you would be perfect for the job. A resume almost always accompanies the cover letter, and sometimes you may have to answer specific screening questions about your skills and previous experience. Again, make sure to proofread everything. For jobs that are important to you, follow up with the employer via email or phone to check the status of your application and re-express your interest.

4) Attend interviews

If a company reads your application and likes your profile, it might extend an interview invitation to you. This means that they are interested in you, and that they want to meet you in person to confirm that you would be a good fit for their specific work environment. To prepare for an interview, you should do the following: know the details of the company you're meeting with, think of questions you would like to ask ahead of time, study any material you might have to know beforehand, and put on a good appearance to make an excellent first impression. Try to be friendly, patient, and straightforward when you talk to any potential future employers.

5) Start working!

If you manage to get through all of the previous steps with success, you're on your way to working in a professional setting! Congratulations! The process can be long and repetitive, but it is important to keep an open mind and stay optimistic. Every job is a learning experience, and your resume will look better as you continue building up that experience.



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