Caleb’s Concepts: Start preparing for the future


Caleb Garbuio, Columnist

In case you have missed it, we are living in the midst of a global pandemic. Businesses have shut down and people are unemployed without a reliable vaccine. This pandemic will impact recent college graduates because many lack professional experience, and most entry-level positions require one to two years of experience to qualify. Never fear, there is a way to get around these qualifications. Here are a few ways to beat the bell curve.

Start going to career fairs. On Sep. 24, App State hosted a virtual Internship and Career Expo via Handshake. Your school login allows you to access your Handshake account. The rest is up to you: fill it with relevant information, upload a resume and register for the event. Upon registering, you have the opportunity to select which employers are offering positions for you to gain valuable experience.

However, experience is key to landing interviews with potential employers. If you’re an underclassman, don’t be alarmed if you do not have the same professional acumen as juniors or seniors. Rather, use this opportunity to investigate the skills that intriguing careers require. For example, if you are interested in working as a journalist, join The Appalachian and gain valuable experience! No, in all seriousness, use this opportunity to gain information about careers you may be interested in pursuing so you can find positions on campus to learn resume-worthy skills. Are you a psychology major? Email a professor and ask if you can research with them. How about computer science? Apply for a paid position at the Center for Analytic Research and Education.

Many students must work part time jobs to pay for college. The good news is that those experiences are transferable to full time employment. Think of it this way: a resume is a highlight of your college experience. Working a part-time job and managing a full course load boosts student productivity, and employers take that into consideration. Don’t believe me? Take it up with the American Enterprise Institute, which found that wages increase as workers become more productive. How do you become more productive? Working and gaining experience. 

At the end of the day, extracurricular activities and work experience should be geared toward gaining valuable experience outside the classroom. Employers are looking for transferable skills that their company will benefit from. That means that as a freshman, you have four years to gain the experience needed for a full-time job after college. Don’t procrastinate, four years passes by in the blink of an eye. Get started now. 

Need more evidence? The Brookings Institute found three things middle-class people had in common: not getting married or having kids before 21, graduating high school or receiving a GED and holding your first full-time job for over a year. They found that only 2% of people in the bottom fifth of earners did all those things. Landing a full-time job is tough, especially now. Yet, it is vital towards financial success. Don’t waste your time. Try to land a part-time job, get involved on campus, network with employers and work hard academically.