By CEO Jim Annis
This article speaks to you – the student – who may be facing the philosophical duel that society has been fighting for a while now. Which is more important? Education or experience? In my mind, there is no clear winner. It is akin to, “which came first? The chicken or the egg?” So as a student or recent graduate, how do you avoid getting sucked into the debate all together and best position yourself when applying for a job or an internship?
All professions and all kinds of work, assuming they are legal and ethical, are honorable in my eyes. Work has many definitions. In terms of a career, it can be, “mental or physical activity as a means of earning income.” However, I would urge you to use the broader definition, “involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.”
I am sure if you have chosen to be a secondary education student you have worked in a meaningful way, can meet deadlines and have at minimum a glimmer of ambition that an employer like me can appreciate. First, you need to acknowledge all that you have done and account for it. Begin a table/list of all the “work” you do or have done that might be transferrable to a job. Start with your studies: group projects (time management, leadership, results); internships (technical skills mastered, essential knowledge gained, network building/mentors and contacts); Greek leadership (civic engagement, wellness/safety training, risk management, diversity and inclusion, accounting/finance, awards achieved); and then work in your general work ethic, tenacity, presentation skills and specific technical abilities.
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