How to Help Your College Student Gain Valuable Career Experience Before Graduation
It’s summer time, and the living’s easy- for your collegiate son or daughter, that is. Many students are home for the summer without any activities other than spending time with high school friends. The question, “what are you going to do after college?” has been passed around the dinner table countless times, and for many this question is still unanswered. Is it ok to let them have their summers off during their college years? What can you do to encourage them and help them find their passion in the working world? “With the job market being so competitive, I want my son to have as much experience as possible before graduation,” says Lynnfield resident Anne Miller, who learned about staffing agencies in the north shore area and encouraged her son to apply for temporary jobs. “I thought temping would be great experience for my son, Nick, because he would get to work at different kinds of businesses in the ‘real world’ that he wouldn't have thought about before. Most importantly, it would give him insight into how businesses work and could inform his future career choice.” Anne’s son Nick, a Norwich University Student, found the staffing experience to be helpful and enjoyable after applying for a receptionist position at a software company. “After doing all the paperwork, I had a discussion with the agency and immediately had a pick of potential jobs. The temp work allowed me to test drive different job positions in different industries, strengthen my resume, and I had some money for college.” Lori Prickett, Lynnfield resident and co-owner of Staff Insight, a boutique staffing agency in the Boston area, says that companies welcome college students into their temporary positions with open arms. “College students are a great resource for large and small companies. Greater Boston area and north shore businesses in healthcare, legal, bio-tech, and more, help students build real-world skills. The students bring fresh, alternative perspectives to the workplace that might not have been considered by older generations of business owners.” Other college students have even had success temping during shorter breaks than summer vacation. Instead of hitting the beach in Miami, UMASS Amherst student and Lynnfield resident Cory Lanza held a temp job during spring break. “In my one week temping over spring break I worked in an office setting for the first time, a very valuable experience many people don't get at my age,” Cory said. “Temping taught me customer service skills and how to professionally respond to emails – something I hadn’t learned in college! I’ve added this experience to my resume, which helps me stand out. Overall, I found it to be a very worthwhile and even fun experience.” How can college students connect with a staffing agency? “There are a number of staffing agencies that specialize in different industries as well as a broad range of career opportunities,” says Lori. “Reaching out to these companies is as easy as a Google search followed up by a thoughtful email with a resume attached.” While these jobs are temporary, your soon-to-be college graduate’s accumulated experience working over the summer may tip the scales and encourage full-time hirers to consider them over another grad who only has their degree to speak for their skills. Case-in-point: Because of his previous staffing experience, Nick Miller was recently accepted for a full-semester college internship at an engineering firm.
By Lori Prickett