Ace The School-To-Work Transition: Get Involved On Campus


You’re only a college or university student for a few short years – then you are sent off into the wonderful world of work, work and more work.

Many students get so caught-up in post-secondary education that they focus solely on classes and assignments, forgetting that this is a prime time to gain valuable experience that may help you land a job after graduation.

Why should you get involved? It’s a great way to meet new people, network, and build your resume! Here are some of the best ways to get involved on campus, wherever you are.

Check out your career centre

This is the optimal place to start. Most institutions have an on-campus career centre, which can help prepare an exceptional application, offer you job-hunt guidance and connect you with on-campus events.

Many students mistakenly assume that the resources at their career centre are only for those close to graduation – in fact, there’s value in connecting with your career centre at every stage of your education and school-to-work transition.

Tip: A little intimidated? Make a list of some general goals you’d like your career centre to help you with. Then look for resources that match your interests!

Participate in clubs or associations

This is the best way for you to start getting involved, particularly if you’re a new student (or a little reluctant to put yourself out there).

Finding a club that matches your interests or hobbies is a great way to meet new people and explore a personal passion. Over time, you can move into a leadership role with your club, which can involve managing finances, organizing events and other activities that you can use as relevant professional experience when you’re looking to land a job.

Tip: Can’t find a club or group that interests you? Start your own! That’s a great way to demonstrate initiative and leadership.

Join your student union

Your on-campus student union usually offers a number of ways for you to get involved. These opportunities can include part-time jobs, elected student positions and volunteer opportunities.

Roles in your student union often offer real responsibility – and empower you to make significant changes or improvements to existing practices, or develop entirely new projects. This experience can be invaluable when you’re preparing your resume for the school-to-work transition!

Tip: Research where former student leaders from your school have gone after graduation. Reach out and ask them to share their insight! You’ll likely find many of them used their student union experience to land an entry-level job.

Connect with your school on social media

Don’t under-estimate the value of connecting with different departments, groups and offices at your school through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. In many cases, these social media platforms are the first place you’ll discover new opportunities on campus.

You can’t be everywhere at once, so letting the news come to you is a great way to stay informed. Regular engagement with different groups on social media is also a great way to build connections to your school, which increases your visibility and exposure.

Tip: Keep things simple! Connect with the groups you’re involved with or interested in, then look at the profiles and groups they connect with to start building your network.

Start your search as soon as possible! Many on-campus groups look for staff or volunteers early. Some even hire months in advance! Your on-campus involvement will help you get set for success once you’ve finished your schooling.

By Lauren Marinigh, is Canada’s leading job board and online career resource for college and university students and recent graduates.

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