Creating a resume is tricky, and deciding what to put on one, how to talk about past experiences, and getting it all to fit on a page is an art we will forever be attempting to master.  But often the most difficult part of our job, at Career Services, and as students, is trying to create a solid resume out of experiences that we simply have not had.  Many of us were involved in high school and had the occasional house sitting type jobs, but now that we are past our freshman year and can no longer include this information on a resume, we feel as though we are left with nothing.  It is absolutely important to enjoy yourself in college, and to focus first and foremost on your studies, but it isn’t enough to be just a good student anymore.  We need to build a collection of experiences that can strengthen our resumes and give us valuable examples of how we apply the things we learn in class.

Thankfully, Oregon State University is equipped with an overwhelming number of opportunities, big and small, for us to get involved and add to our experience list.  But where can we find these opportunities?  Below is the start of a basic list, and following are tips to search for more on your own!

For those of you who have not explored OSU’s website in depth, now is the time!  Click through all the links and pages, and opportunities will start pouring out:

  • Academic clubs in your major can be found on your college’s webpage.  There are usually brochures lying around in the main offices, as well.
  • OSU has a long list of clubs and organizations around campus.
  • ASOSU (Associated Students of Oregon State University) is the student government.  They have many positions available to students among the various branches, as well as task forces and committees for students looking for a smaller role.  You can also get involved with the Center for Civic Engagement.
  • MUPC (Memorial Union Program Council) provides many opportunities for leadership and involvement through event planning and activities.  You can keep an eye out for conferences, festivals, and other events occurring around campus.  Attending a leadership conference, for example, is totally something you can put on a resume.
  • There are six cultural centers on campus: The Asian & Pacific Cultural Center, The Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, El Centro Cultural César Chávez, The Native American Longhouse, The Pride Center, and The Women’s Center.  There are numerous ways to get involved at each of these centers, so go check them out!
  • Student Media runs the Barometer, KBVR –FM and TV, Prism, and Yearbook.  They have job openings and volunteer opportunities calling for a wide array of expertise.
  • We have many religious groups on campus, a long list of which can be found at: Religious/Spiritual Organizations
  • The Greek system is a great way to get involved.  There are 21 fraternities and 19 sororities, both social and academic based.  These are organized through the IFC and Panhellenic and recruitment, although mainly done in the fall, goes on all year.
  • The Student Sustainability Center is the hub of all things environmentally conscious and green on campus!  Involvement in organizations such as this looks great on resumes.  They offer jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities and activities.
  • Interested in unique volunteer opportunities around campus and Corvallis that require little long-term commitment and fit well into any schedule?  Get on the mailing list for the Community Service Center, and be notified about volunteer opportunities.
  • The Disability Access Services office offers opportunities for involvement both paid and unpaid including note taking and mentoring.
  • A fun way to build a resume and learn about teamwork and strategic planning is through the various intramural sports offered each term, and for a more competitive environment, there are numerous sports clubs that compete against clubs from other schools.

If you are looking for some bigger commitments that are incredible experiences and really shine on a resume here are some ideas:

  • Apply to the University Honors College
  • Visit the Study Abroad office and plan a term or a year abroad
  • Become an RA –live right on campus, have your housing paid for, make a significant impact on first year students’ college experiences
  • Join ROTC
  • Start a Corvallis chapter for any significant cause or organization that you are passionate about
  • Get a job or internship.  If you are sick of your summer job, want to earn some extra money, or try out a career path, then look on Beaver Job Net, and see what opportunities are available!

Do not forget to utilize your professors as a resource.  They will have tons of ideas for ways to get involved, as well as be in the know for opportunities coming up.  Many professors look for students to help with tutoring and many recruit their own teaching assistants.

This is the time to get creative!  What unique things have you done, even just for fun?  Taking classes at Dixon, the Craft Center, Community Centers, etc are places where you learn, and any information you gather or regular activity you commit to, can be tailored into a valuable resume builder.  Also, if there are any hobbies that you enjoy that offer certifications, then take the little bit of extra time to do the paper work!  (Many of us are bloggers, or very computer savvy –think about Druple training.  There are periodically sessions offered on campus.)

Some things to remember: coursework and group work are valuable learning opportunities.  You can talk about these things on a resume.  Work experiences DO NOT need to be paid.  Many students think that if it’s not an official job it doesn’t count, but just about any experience does.

If you need help brainstorming or professionally organizing your ideas to polish off that resume, do not forget about Career Services.  We are here to help!