Campus Involvement: Step 1 in Building your Professional Network

by Amy Treutel

Amateur Astronomy Club

Embry-Riddle boasts an overwhelming number of student clubs and organizations.  When first starting school here, it is oftentimes difficult to narrow down with what exactly you want to get involved.  With so many options, how do you even begin to choose?  And why even bother getting involved?

The answer to the first question is easy.  Ask your friends, co-workers, and roommates what clubs and organizations they’re in or they’ve heard are interesting.  Listen to what students are talking about in class to know what clubs are most active or do the most interesting things.  Stop by the Student Activities Fair and see what catches your eye.  Don’t just join an organization because you think it will look good on your resume or you think it’s what you’re supposed to be doing.  You won’t be committed to the organization and being a member won’t end up benefiting you.

That brings us to why you should get involved while you’re here on campus.  Besides Embry-Riddle being your home for the next four years, it’s a stepping stone for beginning your life.  The friends and connections you make in the organizations you’re a part of will carry through your entire life.  This is the beginning of building your network!

Oftentimes in organizations, you have the opportunity to meet industry professionals, attend conferences, or get involved with professors on campus.  These opportunities all translate into skills that will be useful in the workplace.  You’ll have the chance to get comfortable talking with professionals while still in a student setting where it’s okay to make mistakes; you can learn from watching other people.  Attending conferences is another good way to network and learn how to present yourself in a professional manner.  Getting involved with professors on campus opens up a whole new set of doors for you.  Many professors used to work in the industry and still have many contacts that could be useful to you later down the road.

Even if the organization you decide to become a part of doesn’t have such vast opportunities, it’s still important to get involved and truly be part of something about which you’re passionate.  Being a part of The Avion isn’t necessarily going to directly help you in getting a job as an Air Traffic Controller, but what it does give you are the experiences you need to become a successful job candidate.  Your speaking, writing, and presentation skills will develop and improve drastically, and employers will notice the activities that are on your resume.  They’ll be a great conversation piece during your job or internship interview, and who knows, that just might be the key piece you need to seal the deal.

So get involved and get involved in something that is interesting and exciting to you.  It’ll provide for a great relief when classes get stressful, and all the while you’ll be building skills and experiences that will fit in perfectly on your resume.  You get the best of both worlds.

Amy Treutel graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Air Traffic Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics with a specialization in Management.  She currently works as the Office Associate and has been part of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Career Services team for five years.

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