Be More Than a Monkey

Do you do great work, or do you get great results? It seems like a minor distinction, but it’s not. Especially when it comes to finding a job.

Many students (not to mention many people who have been in the workforce for years) often confuse activity with achievement. Here’s an example. In an interview, Kim might recite a long list of clubs, organizations and activities that she had joined during her four years at U State. The list might sound impressive at first, but the interviewer will probably ask follow-up questions about the impact Kim had on these various groups and events. Just being a member of the Film Society, taking tickets at the door like a trained monkey will not earn Kim much credibility with the interviewer. Even being the best ticket-taker in the history of the club won’t mean much o interview day.

On the other hand, Jasmine can talk about how the Investment Club was a better, more successful group because of her involvement. She can talk about how she recruited speakers from brokerage firms to speak to the group, how she convinced a local form to sponsor a club event and how she ran a membership drive that doubled the membership roster. These achievements demonstrate leadership, entrepreneurship, organization and other priceless attributes.

Don’t miss the point here; there’s nothing wrong with “just” being a member of an organization. But when it comes down to demonstrating your abilities in an interview, you’ll need to talk about results. How was the club better because of your efforts? What results did the group achieve because of your efforts? What impact did you have? Be sure that your activities show that you have college success both inside and outside the classroom.

Employers look for people who can produce results. Be a champ, not a chimp.

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