Want a Job? Go to Your College

Robert Valentine
Senior lecturer
of advertisingRobert Valentine Senior lecturer of advertising

Column by Robert Valentine, Senior lecturer of advertising

“Start with the end in mind,” said Dr. Stephen Covey.

That’s good advice.

When Personkind decided to go to the moon, we decided to go in a rocket. It wouldn’t be over until some human jumped off a ladder and disturbed the dust on the moon’s surface for the first time since the Ewoks moved back to Tatooine. It didn’t always exactly go as planned, but we got there with one small step. Give or take.

Likewise, if you are here at college to help get a job or to improve your chances at an indoor job which does not involve hamburgers or mop handles, you need to envision what the “end” will be. You can start working on it right now.

Walking across the stage, shaking hands with Dr. Davies and accepting a rolled piece of paper (which is actually your final parking ticket bill) will not automatically qualify you for work. A 2.01 GPA and the ability to sleep through CIV lectures with your eyes open, while useful and impressive skills, will not suffice, either. 

Human Resources persons (or, “those who hire”) don’t expect much from you if you’re fresh out of college. They will teach you what you need to know for the most part. However, they can’t teach you how to make your meanings clear, how to make things happen without the help of your friends and how to hang in there when the going gets very, very tough.

That’s right: your employer will want someone who can talk and work with a team while solving problems; texting doesn’t make you special. You’ll have to do more.

Happily, you are at Murray State, which has been named by most magazines in America as being in the top ten state colleges in the known universe, including Vulcan and Tatooine. The really special part is, you have a college. There are several, and one has already been chosen for you by the Sorting Hat.

Called “residential colleges,” these institutions are often mistaken for “dormitories,” which means, literally, “a place to sleep through class.” The residential colleges, as they may be called, are different.

Sleep is optional, but interaction is not.

Your residential college is more than a building. Even if you live at home, or with relatives, or commute from Benton or Paris or Chicago, you are a member of that college. You don’t have to be a resident of the building, but you are a member of the college.

“So, what?” you ask.

This what: as a member of a college, you can be on the intramural team, the college council or represent the college to the Student Government Association.

You can join any number of interest groups, from political factions to theatre groups to glee clubs. You could represent your college in Murray’s Got Talent or All Campus Sing. You could do a lot of things.

And the HR people tell us that they would be impressed by that. It indicates that you have learned to chat with people in a meeting. You’ve had to compromise your position so that the group could move forward, and you didn’t die when things didn’t you entirely your way.

You had to raise money for homecoming, and you did. You walked for ALS or rode a tricycle for UNICEF. You did it as a part of a working, problem-solving group, and you know how to do it again. You can do it in your college, any number of student groups, pre-professional societies, fraternities or sororities.

That’s what the HR people are looking for. So, what’s in your resume?

You came to your University; now, go to your college. Start with your career in mind.

Start now.