By Anna Kenney, Assistant Director, Internships
As a society, we are conditioned to assign value to things based on our experiences with them. Ex: “That restaurant on South Beach is great, because I saw a bunch of celebrities there. “ Or “The Grove is horrible, because I got a flat tire once.”
We also associate value, very often, by what others have told us about that particular thing. Ex: “That professor is amazing, my brother took his class and it changed his life.” Or “The staff member working at the dining hall is so nice; my roommate told me they gave her candy the day before her biggest final.”
All of these examples can be tied back to the reputation of an establishment, location or person. This reputation could be the deciding factor on how you perceive that person, place or thing forever. The same can be said for us as individuals. One interaction can change a person’s opinion of you, change their perception of how capable you are and change their ability to see you as anything but that one interaction.
Developing a strong professional reputation is incredibly important and in the long run, as it relates to your career, it can prove very rewarding. A great reputation could mean multiple job offers, higher salary and better project assignments. And guess what? You don’t have to wait until you have a full-time job to start working on your professional reputation. You can start NOW!
In the classroom
Show respect to your professors by being attentive in class. Visit them during their office hours so that they get to know you outside of class. Not only are they a huge wealth of knowledge, you never know who they know. They can be great resources for internship and full-time opportunities. They can also write some pretty amazing letters of recommendation!
Outside the Classroom
Get involved and work hard! It will make you stand out from the people who don’t. Take on leadership opportunities to master those “soft skills” such as communication skills, teamwork and problem solving.
Monitor your online presence! You’ve heard it many times before, but it is a reality. Raise your hand if you Facebooked your first roommate when you found out who they were. You probably determined in about 45 seconds whether they were your new best friend or whether you needed to find a new place to live ASAP. I can guarantee that there are some companies/organizations that will do the same thing to you the day they get your resume.
Get a LinkedIn profile! Start building connections today to help you get that J-O-B! Use it along the way to get advice from professionals in your intended industry (or to explore them if you haven’t found it yet).
Utilize the Toppel Staff to polish and market that wonderful reputation that you’ve established for yourself. Attend our workshops; come in for walk-in advising to tweak that resume. Sign up for a practice interview to secure that internship. Participate in on-campus recruiting to land that full-time job!