I personally engage with community service opportunities right along side my students in high school and college. It is part of what I do….why? Because employers want to see real life experiences and are motivated to hire a student who has skills in the areas of communication, presentation, project completion and follow through. I could add that they appreciate the ability to keep “whining to a minimum” as well.
- I never ask my students to do what I am unwilling to do.
- I see a real need for training students. Students are willing but they still need a little support for the various projects.
One of the best environments to learn the skills are through a local non profit doing community service. Being a volunteer and working as a team member in high school will prepare you for the internship in college or over the summer between semesters. Employers care less about how smart you are and more about your experience.
Fortunately, I have found two amazing non-profits that are close by and run extremely well. The Post Falls Food Bank and The Jacklin Arts & Cultural Center. The food bank provides an opportunity to do manual labor with a great group of older volunteers who are very fond of the students. The jobs basically are assigned and vary but they require a team effort and due to a large need must have a high completion rate. In other words the food that is donated must be separated and put out quickly due to need of the patrons.
The JACC on the other hand provides many cultural opportunities for learning how to greet people, make change for box office, provide support for patrons that need assistance in the elevator or to serve at the various functions promoting the Arts. Both settings provide real life work issues.
The Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace conducted a survey of employers who hire recent college graduates in order to understand employer perceptions of the role of colleges and universities in career preparation (2012)
- All industries and hiring levels place slightly more weight on student work or internship experiences than on academic credentials.
- Science/Technology, Services/Retail, and Media/Communications segments tilt the scale toward experience more than other industries.
- Weighted results show that college major is the most important academic credential to employers; however, internships and employment during college are the top traits employers consider in evaluating recent graduates for a position.
- College major comes in third, overall, except at Health Care organizations where it is neck and neck with employment during college, and at organizations with fewer than 50 employees where employers value volunteer work and extracurricular activities more, dropping college major to fifth on the list of all traits examined in this study.
- Extracurricular activities, like professional clubs, athletics, and service, are valued more than GPA, relevance of coursework to position, and college reputation except by Executives who emphatically place more weight on coursework relevance and GPA, closely trailing college major.
- An internships is the single most important credential for recent college graduates to have on their resume in their job search among all industry segments with Media/Communications placing the highest value on internships in comparison to other industries.
Time is running out…. get onto to community service and internships. They are valuable…