About the Blog

This blog and its resources are here to assist all students throughout their college years and into their careers. Blog is moderated by a Certified Professional Career Coach and Master Tutor Trainer. Site moderator, Neil O'Donnell, is an EOP graduate of Buffalo State College and can be reached at odonnenp@buffalostate.edu.

Gaining Experience as an Undergrad

Becoming successful in ANY major takes time, patience and serious effort.  That effort begins when you are a FRESHMAN.  Taking classes and getting good grades, however, is only part of the battle.  Below are tasks you should complete as an undergraduate to insure your future success and increase your chances of finding employment just before or immediately after graduating.

1)      Utilize the Career Center:  The Career Center is home to volumes of information about job opportunities for every major.  Additionally, there are assessments such as the Strong Interest Inventory which can help students (particularly undecided students) focus in on potential majors to pursue.

2)      Talk to professors within your major:  Do you need grad school?  What grad programs are the best?  What undergraduate classes within and outside of your major should you take?  What internship opportunities/job opportunities are available/beneficial to students in your major?  All these questions can best be answered by professors who teach the respective subject matter.

3)      Contact local professionals within your major:  People currently working in positions you dream of obtaining can provide a wealth of information as to classes you should take now and job/volunteer/internship opportunities you should pursue.  A professional letter/email introducing yourself as a major searching for direction from a professional can lead to your obtaining a great deal of knowledge about your field that is not available within textbooks/lectures.

4)      Library Research: Libraries have a lot of journals, biographies and other miscellaneous materials that can assist you in better understanding your chosen field.  Just remember, find out the date of the material you are reading – things/conditions change over time.

5)      Get relevant field experience as soon as possible.  As an anthropology major, I completed an archaeological field school the summer after my freshmen year on the advice of one of my anthropology professors.  After completing the field school, I had enough training to work as a field archaeologist.  I would spend several summers working with a team of archaeologists until I graduated.  When I applied for jobs immediately upon graduating, I found it easier than most of my friends to find work related to my major, many of whom had science and education degrees.  What helped me get my foot into doors and land job interviews?  The consistent amount of experience before graduating helped a great deal.  Even volunteer positions can be useful in this regard.  The big step is asking professors within your major for guidance.

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