By Julia Kauffman
As a student, homecoming is a time for some football, tailgating, and free funnel cakes on the mall. But as an alumnus, coming home to Furman means sharing the success your degree and your education have provided for you. Hopefully by now you’ve realized the full benefit of the liberal arts education you’re receiving here at Furman. Like this week’s fortune cookie says, education is the ability to adapt to whatever life throws at you, and your liberal arts degree is allowing you to do just that. While Chem 101 may seem to be the bane of your existence right now, it is helping you become a more qualified student by giving you a well-rounded education. However, in the current job market, just being a well-rounded student is no longer good enough to be guaranteed a job after graduation. Thankfully, Furman provides you with some tools to help you start resume building now, so that before your homecoming rolls around you’ll have a job to brag about.
-The internship office. If you haven’t been, go! The internship office, headed by Susan Zeiger, is a wonderful place that will help you get set up with a local internship, either during the school year or for over the summer. It has an extremely comprehensive database of local opportunities, to help you get matched with something you’re actually interested in. Going through the internship office also shows your possible employers that your university recommended you for the position, and that can be a leg up on the competition. The internship office also has a great section on the Furman website, where you can find example resumes and cover letters, as well as learn the details of how to get an internship or how to use that internship for university credit. If you’re thinking of applying for a summer internship, you might want to go see Mrs. Zeiger sooner rather than later- the internship office recommends you start applying between November and February! The internship office is located in Johns Hall 204.
-Get money, get paid. One of the tougher expectations to fulfill is to hold a steady job while being a full time student. However, if you can pull this off, it will show a future employer that you can compartmentalize, prioritize and multi-task. Furman has the Student Employment Office as well as the Office of Career Services, both located in the UC, suite 201. These offices help you make smart and informed decisions so you can become employed. The Student Employment Office, among other things, will help you become employed on campus, particularly if you qualify for the Federal Work Study program, based off the information you filled out on your FAFSA. They also send out e-mails to Classifieds and Student News to announce job openings on or off campus. However, they are a referral service only, and it is your responsibility to contact the employer and set up an interview. The Office of Career Services can help you identify a potential career through tests, and can also help you conduct an informed job search. Another great service of the Office of Career Services is resume writing- they can help you perfect your resume, so that it lands at the top of the pile. Make use of these two great resources in your job hunt!
-Get out of town. This might be the most fun and memorable tip on how to get hired- study away! There’s no better way to say, “I’m adventurous!” than to leave the country for a semester for a brand new way of life. To an employer, the fact that someone studied away can show that they’re not afraid to take risks, to pick up and move, or to learn in a different cultural setting. Furman offers study away programs for fall, spring and May X semesters in places as diverse as South America, India, Asia and Europe. Another added benefit is that most Furman Study Away programs require you to participate in an internship, or at least some classes, in whatever country you study in. Any experience you can get abroad, the better. If you are interested in Study Away programs starting in the fall of next year, you can attend the Study Away 101 meeting on Thursday, October 20th, in John’s Hall 101 at 2:30 p.m.
-Furman Advantage. For those of you who have already selected your major, have a good sense of what you want to do and are eager to get started, than the Furman Advantage program is for you! Basically the program offers a summer fellowship through Furman, allowing you to conduct research with professors and other students for a stipend. The opportunity to use Furman’s facilities, as well as the expertise of the professors who will mentor you, is not one to miss out on! This past summer, 2011, there were 67 fellowships given out, and more surprisingly, only half of them were to those in the field of science. Furman Advantage is also available for those interested in the social sciences, the humanities and the fine arts. Furman Advantage is an extremely competitive program, which (once you are selected) requires you to write weekly posts about your work as well as a final paper, but being selected pays off immensely. If you feel like this is something you would like to participate in, the applications will be posted in December.