From the Desk of BBA Career Services Director, Velma Arney: Freshmen & Sophomore Edition

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November 3, 2016 by sophiawding

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The renowned adage goes, “You’re never too young to dream big.” We’ve all heard this phrase time and time again, but nobody embodies this statement quite as perfectly as the current McCombs freshmen and sophomores. These eager students are already actively engaged in their career navigation process, not letting their age be a determining factor. However, career planning can be intimidating, even for the best of us. That’s why we asked BBA Career Services Director, Velma Arney, for the inside scoop on how freshmen and sophomores can get ahead of the game in their career search. Check out what she had to say in response to our students’ most common questions!

Q: How can I transition my resume from high school activities to college activities? What are worthwhile commitments I should make in terms of extracurricular involvement?

A: I recommend keeping important items from your high school experience (i.e. jobs, student organization involvement, volunteering) on your resume for one year, however try to have high school information off of your resume by your sophomore year. Our BBACS Career Coaches will walk you through building a resume in the BA 101 Career Planning Strategies course; you can also make an appointment with a Career Coach or come in for walk-in coaching.

I was a first generation college student and I remember how tough it was just getting used to being in college; classes, dorm life, etc. I recommend attending BBACS recruiting events and joining BBACS programs (BBA Women’s Council, Target Your Future, McCombs Diversity Council, Sophomore Development Program) and student organizations to explore your career path. However it is really important to not overbook yourself. I recommend dedicating yourself to only a few extracurricular activities (a mixture of professional, social, and service opportunities). This will help you gain quality experiences that will diversify your background and skills and give you great content for your resume!

Q: I’m interested in getting an internship after my freshman year. Is that possible, and how can I go about getting it?

A: Yes, it is possible to get an internship after your freshmen year. We encourage freshmen to volunteer and attend the Undergraduate Career ExpoCareer Week events, information sessions, and other recruiting events. Employers want to connect with underclassmen; they love seeing your enthusiasm and might have internships or Leadership Programs designed for underclassmen that are great for building your experience.

I also recommend utilizing HireUTexas posting board, in addition to RecruitMcCombs, and connecting with local Austin companies (including start-ups and nonprofits). You can connect with McCombs BBA alumni through LinkedIn and request informational interviews; this is a great way to build your network and make connections for future internships.

Our BBACS programs: Target Your Future, BBA Women’s Council, McCombs Diversity Council, and Sophomore Development Program are also great ways to connect with employers in a mentor/safe environment and learn about opportunities. Also, check out the Freshmen Internship Spotlights to gain insight from McCombs students who interned after their freshmen year.

Q: What exactly is personal branding, and how can I go about creating my own personal brand?

A: What impression do you want to make to employers? Creating a personal brand in relation to recruiting is being able to shape your experience and skills to reflect the career path you would like/or you think you would like to work towards. Create a pitch; a brief and clear way to tell your story. Focus the pitch on career path related info, but also show your personality. For example, you can share information about your leadership positions in student orgs and how you like to give back through volunteering. This is a great way to highlight your leadership skills while showing your character through supporting social good.  Also, remember to be mindful of your virtual presence-via your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more!

Our Sophomore Development Program designed to help sophomores with personal branding, networking skills, and more! Each member has an Austin alumni mentor; a great resource in helping you craft your personal brand and career game plan.

Q: What’s the best way for me to choose a career path, industry, and/or major? 

A: First realize that that each of these choices are hard for everyone and there’s room to change your mind. Your classes (any favorites?), recruiting events, Leadership Programs, and internships are all experiences that help you realize what functions, industries, and companies align with your goals, passions, skills, and personality. You will also realize what experiences you don’t like and although it might feel negative or like you wasted your time; sometimes these experiences are the most important-now you know you don’t want to go down that road!

Explore the options though utilizing resources such as the Vault Guides (See MOR for advanced access to Vault); there are industry guides that give information about the history of the industry, skills needed, companies, etc. You will also gain great insight through attending recruiting events (see BBACS calendar and RecruitMcCombs), joining BBACS programs and student orgs, and requesting informational interviews with upperclassmen and alumni. Also, get help from our team; Career Coaches and Peer Coaches are here to talk through these tough decisions!

Thanks Velma for your sagacious advice! We loved hearing your insight, and we hope that our freshmen and sophomores can benefit a great deal from your tips!

Save the Date for the Underclassmen Coffee Chat on 11/9; RSVP via RecruitMcCombs!

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