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June 09, 2009


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FMF all your resume tips are for those who have already had professional experience (I'm sure that is the majority of job seekers). What about us college students who may not have as many quantifiable accomplishments? What do you recommend?

Jeff --

I have a post coming up tomorrow on how students should get whatever work experience they can during college. Be sure to check it out.If you have questions after reading that post, leave a comment there and I'll try to address it.

Jeff, I graduated from college in May '07. The summer after I graduated, I chose to continue a high-paying summer trucking job I had done in previous years. I then traveled Europe for three months on my trucking earnings.

When I came back from Europe in the winter, I got the first job I applied for, a good-paying position as a financial reporter. My degree is not at all related to journalism, but I had two years of journalism experience under my belt when I applied. How?

I built up my resume in college, which is when I decided to become a journalist. In my junior year, I started writing for the school paper. Using my experience with the school paper and as an editor for a research journal, the following summer I received two news internships, one at a local weekly paper and one at a local radio station. The internship at the paper turned into a paying job with the same paper, where I was employed all my senior year. It also led to freelance work.

Thus, when I came back from Europe I had experience as:
-columnist and reporter, school newspaper
-editor, research journal
-news intern, radio station
-news writing intern, weekly paper
-part-time editorial employee, weekly paper
-freelance reporter, weekly paper

Note that only the last two gigs actually paid any money, and not much of that either. Still, the most valuable thing I received from all of the jobs was experience and a host of contacts and people willing to recommend my work.

In short, FMF is correct: students should get whatever work experience they can. Think about what you enjoy doing, and think about what you want to be doing. If you show any aptitude for it and can present yourself well, you can probably get yourself an internship. Companies are all too happy to employ people willing to work for free.

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