Participating in a job shadow, informational interview, club or organization, community outreach, an internship or a co-op will give you the opportunity and framework to discover, build, and develop skills needed for your after college choices, whether it be graduate school, service or work. Below are some ways to start this process at UConn and add some critical skills to your repertoire.
Check out how other UConn students have been involved on and off campus and built their skills through the “Meet Student Success Stories Blog”.
Community Outreach, Service Learning Courses, and Volunteering
Giving back to the community is a low risk, high benefit way to interact with like-minded individuals, as you can meet people both on and off campus who are attracted to the idea of helping. You may become more proficient in a skill set or even learn a new one while contributing to a project or with an individual seeking assistance. To find valuable outreach options at UConn, consider the Office of Community Outreach, taking a Service Learning Course, or finding a volunteer opportunity on your own or with a club you have joined.
Student Organizations and Clubs
By joining a club and becoming an active member, you can develop transferable skills through projects and be identified by other members as a potential future leader of the organization. Transferable skills are skills you can gain through one experience, but apply to many future opportunities. Some of the transferable skills you may gain through club involvement include time management, critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and public speaking.
Experiencing another culture through education abroad, is a great opportunity to broaden your worldview and build your understanding of other cultures. Employers and graduate schools value students who appreciate diversity and are able to communicate and work as a team with people from a variety of backgrounds.
Informational Interviews and Job Shadows
Getting exposed to an environment you believe you might want to work in after graduation is an ideal way to help you explore your options.
An informational interview is when you set up a time to meet with someone at a place of employment to discuss that person’s role as well as the culture of the organization. These sessions typically last about an hour.
A job shadow is an extension of the informational interview, as you would stay longer and be introduced to a half or full day of work at the site. Meeting people through this method can prove invaluable when looking to build professional connections.
Part-time Jobs, Internships, and Co-ops
Choosing to work while in college is a decision that can have a positive impact beyond your time at UConn. Gaining work experience can help you develop transferable skills and provide exposure to different work environments.
Part-time jobs are plentiful and many are open to students with little to no prior work experience. They are an introduction to life as an employee, and many have tracks that support the student staying with the same department year after year.
Internships and Co-ops are elevated, as they not only need a student to work on a task, the student will be offered experiences that can increase their knowledge beyond the day-to-day work assignments for the employer. UConn students can find internships on and off campus during the summer and semester; co-op students are usually at least a sophomore or junior, take a semester to work full-time but don’t take classes, yet are considered full-time students. Students often fine tune practical skills while also learn about professional work environments and culture.