University Activities - From Classroom to Career
Hear From The Best
Look for lectures on campus when professionals in your field come to speak and often meet students.
I like the overall road map a lot. I'd particularly encourage younger students to attend Open Visions forums. They can do that right off the bat and it will give them some food for thought without being overwhelming. - Ben Doody '07, English; Connecticut group managing editor, Journal Register publishing company
Want to get a jumpstart on your future? Sophomore Success is a series of casual dinners developed to help you figure out such questions as: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter - do they really matter? Will my posts impact my future? How do I write a resume? How can I make myself stand out in the job market? Should I study abroad? How do I get an internship? What about grad school? Should I do service? Have I really given enough thought to my major based on my career goals? Networking Skills? Business etiquette - what the heck is that? Students meet over dinner with Career Planning staffers and discuss topics. Look for sign-up information early in the year.
Yes, Employers Look at GPA
Keep your eye on the goal of academic excellence.
A strong major GPA and overall GPA is incredibly important. I know that for me, and for many of my friends who graduated with me, good GPAs were mentioned by interviewers, and bad GPAs were also mentioned by interviewers. I would definitely tell freshmen and sophomores not to let anything come in the way of performing to the best of their ability in their academic classes. This should be a top priority. - Emily Bosson '11, English major with minors in Secondary Education and History; teacher at New Milford (Ct.) High School.
While students clearly should be involved in whichever extracurricular activities are enjoyable for them, investing time into extracurricular that are resume builders are important too. And chances are, if the student is entertaining the idea of a certain career, an internship or club in that particular field will give them further insight into whether or not that path is right for them. Therefore - the earlier, the better! - Jenn Lance '12, English; freelance editor
Service Learning Courses
Look for Fairfield courses that give you a chance to interact with the off-campus community, gain experience, and maybe pick up a resume credit and gain experience.
Undergraduates should be open to where life is going to take them. The career they envision at 22 might be very different than what they actually enjoy doing. I think having a lot of variety in your resume really helps you stand out, and shows you can work multiple types of roles. -Chris Zeitz '04; Philosophy; US Army (2007-2012)
The Study Abroad Fair
The Study Abroad Fair will give you tips to use in finalizing any travel plans for junior year. Talk to faculty and other students on how the experience could help further your career goals.
Build A Portfolio
Consider creating a blog or e-portfolio to collect materials that you can use to promote yourself in the future. Build a blog.
Relevant Summer Job
Talk to faculty and Career Planning to increase your chances of securing a summertime job (after sophomore year) that is related to your career goal can give you some experience, and serve as a credit on your resume. Use Facebook and Linked In to present yourself to the world in a professional manner.
Don't wait! Make another appointment with a Career Planning Center counselor. Consider taking a "self-assessment inventory" test to help you get a better handle on where your strengths might be directing you. Update your resume. Look for workshops that can sharpen skills in writing resumes, networking, and mock interviewing. Register with Experience, Fairfield's online recruiting system, and get familiar with how it works. Students can search for jobs, internships, information on career fairs, and submit resumes to jobs and internships of interest.
Practice interviews are important for undergraduates as well. I went to a seminar to help veterans looking for jobs held by a Fortune 100 company in Boston. One speaker said that the two questions most on his mind during an interview are: 1) does this person fit in the team, and 2) can this person make money for the company? Undergraduates may be competing against individuals with more experience, but they can make up lost ground by knowing how to answer these questions. Job seekers need to review common interview questions and have positive, constructive responses for these. - Chris Zeitz '04; Philosophy; US Army (2007-2012)
More Career Planning
Attend Career Fairs and ask employers what they are looking for in new hires. Make an appointment with the Career Planning Center to meet with staff, talk about your goals and aspirations. Look at their online Career Planning Advisor Videos. Look at the Research Tools for Careers.
After meeting with a career counselor sophomore year, I decided it was time to sit down, put together a resume, and find a summer internship. From then on I had a jam-packed summer working as an unpaid legislative aide at the Massachusetts State House while waitressing at night for spending money. But I think the earlier you start looking for connections in your field, as well as diversifying your resume, the better. - Lauren Solari '10, Politics/English major; student, Case Western Reserve University School of Law