Beyond the resume

By Colleen Callahan, iMedia Class of 2010

Alright, iMedia students (and college seniors). It’s the final stretch. You’re almost about to graduate, you’ve done your projects, papers, internships, and you’re almost ready to pursue whatever you’ve thought of for what’s next in your life. Your resume is in tip-top shape, listing skills you’ve acquired and programs you know.

I guarantee no matter how much you think you’re prepared for the workplace, you’re not as ready as you could be.

Don’t worry though, you’ll be fine! There are just still some things that you may not have learned in school that can be helpful in the workplace. You may have acquired these skills through internships or previous jobs, but after being at my job now for seven months, there are definitely things I wish I would have worked on between school and work. Here is a list, and feel free to brainstorm on your own. While they may seem menial, trust me, it will help.

1. How to work phones

If you get the chance to work on using a phone, you should definitely take advantage. Maybe this summer you can visit your parents’ workplace and bother your friends. Practice transferring, conferencing people in, using the hold feature, etc.

2. Do you really know how to use Microsoft Office?

This is something most graduates will put on their resume – “fluent in the Microsoft Office Suite.” But are you really? Do you know how to create graphs and program formulas in Excel? Schedule a meeting and look at others’ calendars in Outlook? Mail merge using Word? Utilize OneNote for organizational needs? If you do, congrats! But I definitely didn’t, and I have been tested on all of the above. Review the programs and their features. You’ll be happily surprised.

3. Work on explaining

With your job you’ll probably be on the phones often trying to explain something, or have to make a presentation. During school, you’re usually the student and have to retain the information. Sure there are formal presentations, but honestly, they probably don’t happen frequent enough to prepare you for the “real world.” It may sound silly, but practice explaining something in the news, how things work, or anything where you’ll be the teacher.

4. Learn how to make coffee

If you are coffee drinker, you’re probably set. I don’t, and thankfully I’ve never had to make coffee for anyone, but it definitely seems like something to practice just in case.

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