Some of you may feel that you’re too good for a leadership position, that you don’t want the extra work, or that organization bureaucracy is for chumps. Well you are not alone. Being a leader is not something to take lightly. As the face of an organization, it is your responsibility to carry everything the organization is on your back. It’s not easy, and a lot of times being the leader is a thankless job. After all, that’s what being a leader is, a job. But here is a free insight into the working world: employers love leadership experience. It shows you are management material and that you have the drive to move up. It shows that you know how to handle large amounts of responsibility. Companies are looking for their future leaders and the best time to gain that experience is in school.
I graduated with a Political Science degree. Now I work in Marketing. I managed to land this job because I proved to my employer- through my profile video, resume, and interview on Spark Hire– that I have leadership experience and a drive for taking the initiative. Companies love to hear things like that. Leadership shows you know how to solve problems and interact with people on multiple levels. It proves you know how to communicate with others and proves dedication to a specific cause or organization. Whatever skill you may lack, a proven track record as a leader can make up a lot of the slack. The big thing that sold me to my employer was my desire to learn and try new approaches, which are traits I picked up while being a leader of youth and social organizations. Leadership opens doors by preparing your mind for outside-the-norm thinking and learning.
So, where can you get leadership experience? If you’re still in college, then the answer is everywhere. Join a club, a fraternity or sorority or even student government. When I was in college I really got into my fraternity and served as president of the chapter as well as a vice president of the IFC, which is the governing body of all campus fraternities. Friends of mine joined “Blue Crew” – which was our school’s organization for students looking to get involved with athletic and campus events- and served on numerous executive boards. Student government and Greek life are also great and similar ways to get involved with leadership and your school on an organizational and outreach level. All of these options give you the opportunity to add teamwork to your resume and let you flex your management muscle.
Outside of a skill asset and teaching tool, leadership gets you connected to people. As a leader on campus, by default you will be in contact with other organizations and their leaders, school administrators, business leaders and alumni. “Hey, more networking advice!” That’s right reader, getting involved in leadership is great networking advice. You learn communication and management skills, and if you are a proactive leader, you learn how to think ahead of problems and figure out how to avoid them. These are all skills that not only work in school but in the real working world as well. Employers love people who know how to turn a potential problem into a solution.
There are some people out there who believe leadership is something you are born with. Others believe proper leaders can be trained and taught how to lead. Regardless of what school of thought you subscribe to, it is universally true that no matter how you obtained the skills, they need to be exercised or you will lose them. It is the same principle for athletes. They have to constantly train to get better and avoid muscle atrophy. Get the good practice in school so you are ready to compete in the real world.
Question? Ideas or suggestions? Follow me on twitter @ChrisComella or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
IMAGE: Courtesy of Michigan FCCLA