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Build Experience

Experience is an essential part of your career development.

Employers hire graduates who not only have the necessary educational background but also have experience applying that knowledge to real life situations.  Through these experiences you will have the opportunity to demonstrate and further develop transferable skills such as:

    • Critical thinking and problem solving
    • Interpersonal and Communication (speaking, presenting, writing, and listening)
    • Adaptability (abilty to change and adapt to new situations and environments)
    • Planning, organization, and time management

It's never too early to start!

Freshmen often begin by seeking volunteer work and part-time or summer jobs to act as a stepping stone to something more career/professional related later.  They also get involved in campus clubs and organizations and start to network by talking with professionals working in fields of interest (Informational Interviewing).

Sophomores conduct informational interviews and complete externships (Job Shadowing) to help refine their career goals and further develop their professional network.

Juniors usually seek out internships, leadership roles with campus organizations, and become more involved with their academic departments' activities and field studies.

Seniors often continue with internships, assist professors with research, attend or present at student conferences, seek out campus or community leadership roles, join professional organizations, and seek career-related employment.

Opportunities for Building Experience

KU offers a wide range of opportunities to assist you with building your experience and transferable skills.  Browse the opportunies below and intentionally seek out activities that are a good fit for you.  We encourage "(At least) one a year for your career." 

Attend CDC Workshops, Events & Presentations.
Every semester, the CDC hosts over 60 workshops, information sessions, and special events such as internship and job fairs, employer panels, and info sessions.  Click here for Schedule of Events.

Download the Making the Most of Your College Experience Guidebook.
Click here to download this guidebook which provides strategies and tips for building experience during your college years.

Join a major-related club or organization.
Clubs and organizations related to your major provide opportunities for you to explore career options and network with professionals through guest speakers, panel discussions, and site visits. You will also have the opportunity to build relationships with faculty members and other students who may eventually be your professional colleagues.  These organizations also provide a great opportunity for developing leadership skills. Whether you serve as a committee member or an officer, you can enhance your skills and employability by taking an active role.  Visit KUnited for a complete list of active organizations.

Conduct informational interviews with professionals working in the field.
Start to develop your professional network and get a better understanding of what it will be like to work in a particular field, by talking with people who really know- professionals who are currently working in the field. Click here for a "how to" guide for conducting informational interviews and attend the Exploring Careers Through Interviewing and Job Shadowing (Externships) Info Session.  Click here for Schedule of Events.

Test your interest in an occupation by job shadowing with a professional working in the field.
You will learn more about the occupation, understand what a particular job is like on a daily basis, develop professional contacts, and experience the culture of an organization.  Click here for a "how to" guide for arranging a job shadow and attend the Exploring Careers Through Interviewing and Job Shadowing (Externships) Info Session.  Click here for Schedule of Events.

Participate in volunteer work. 
Even if you have only an hour or two a week, volunteering will provide an opportunity for you to develop new skills, apply existing skills to real-life settings, explore career options, and make professional contacts.  Before pursuing a volunteer experience, think about the type experience you would like to have.  If you are interested in teaching, look for opportunities with children.  If you are interested in writing, look for opportunities to write or edit.  

For campus and Kutztown community volunteer opportunities please visit the Community Outreach Center.  Also check out these national and regional volunteer sites.

Seek part-time/seasonal employment related to your field or career aspirations.
Paid employment can involve career-related tasks and allow for skill-building and exposure to a work environment. Search for:

Complete an internship or two.
An internship is a carefully monitored work or volunteer experience with intentional learning goals. It is temporary work that enhances your resume and gives you professional experience. Internships are a key ingredient to success, often getting your foot in the door for your first full-time, permanent position. Click here for more information.

Participate in field study and/or undergraduate research.
Field study experiences and undergraduate research may be available through your academic department. These experiences are useful to students contemplating graduate school or for those studying science, technology, education, humanities or social sciences. Please visit your academic department or faculty advisor to learn more about these opportunities.

Join a professional organization as a student member.
Professional organizations bring people with industry experience and interest together. Meetings or online forums, conferences, networking events, and job fairs can be a wonderful place to learn about industry trends and development opportunities. Participating in professional events such as these demonstrates your orientation for lifelong learning and commitment to your field. There are associations (national, state, regional, local) for almost every profession or area of interest. Click here for list of professional associations by discipline.