It can be scary to think about transitioning from college to the professional world. From searching for the right job to preparing for interviews to getting ready for your first day — the process can seem like a lot.
“How does college prepare me for my future job? How can my academic experience attract employers? What can I do to better prepare myself to enter the workforce?”
I’ve asked myself these questions, along with many others, many times. Transitioning from university academics to a full-time job can definitely be daunting and overwhelming. However, I have become calmer and more comfortable with it by realizing how my experience at UC Davis set me up for success in the first place.
At UC Davis, I gained many soft skills
When it comes to interviews, many people recognize the hard skills you can obtain in your major. However, it is important to recognize your college experience also teaches you other skills — like networking, teamwork, organization, and time management — that can apply to the workforce.
The ability to communicate effectively with others is another valuable asset to have with you in the working world. UC Davis promotes an interconnected community that motivates students to network and connect with their peers, graduate students, and professors. When you go to office hours or reach out to other students in your classes, you are actively connecting and establishing a working relationship with others. Similar to networking, you will improve your teamwork skills in a group project, such as research or presentations.
Time management and organization are other skills that you can gain through your college experience. College students balance a lot, from classes and clubs to jobs and internships. This requires you to be organized and manage your time properly to ensure that you meet deadlines, attend events, etc. So the next time you have an interview and are asked about skills that you have, know that you can take the skills from your academic experience and apply them.
Join professional clubs and organizations for career-specific opportunities
A great way to explore an industry or a career beyond the classroom is through professional clubs and organizations. Whether you are interested in medicine, finance, journalism, or more, there are clubs and organizations you can join. I had this ambition after I added economics as a double major and wanted to explore careers in this area. I joined a club on campus called Consult Your Community, which offers pro-bono consulting to local businesses. This club taught me so much about what a consultant does, as well as providing me with the opportunity to work firsthand with different clients on engagements. Besides the great industry knowledge and experience I obtained, I was able to connect with a lot of people that had similar interests and passions to mine. The industry knowledge and experience that you can get from a club or organization can help prepare you for your future career.
Get help at the UC Davis Internship and Career Center (ICC)
If you are feeling worried or overwhelmed about any part of the job process, UC Davis has resources for students at any stage. The ICC taught me a lot about professional development, especially about cover letters and interview actions. The ICC can teach you about interviews, networking, salary negotiations, and so much more.
I was also grateful to have gotten an internship in Sacramento through a posting I found through the Internship Career Center. Internships are a great way to gain experience during your time at UC Davis and the ICC helps students find and apply to the various opportunities. Workshops are also held if you are interested in a more formal way of improving your preparation for the working world.
Zach Luis is a UC Davis senior, with a double-major in Mathematics and Economics. He hails from Torrance, California. He is a member of the Ambassadors of Letters and Science (ALAS) program within the UC Davis College of Letters and Science.