Have you ever wondered what qualities employers care about when hiring college students or recent graduates?

Student resumés that show leadership positions, roles in extracurricular groups like student government or even general work experience are all extremely influential in an employer’s decision to consider that resumé, according to the 2019 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook Survey. In fact, employers care far more about that experience than they do about your grade point average or even which school you attend, according to the NACE survey.

Some of the most sought-after skills on college students’ resumés reflect this. Employers strongly value vital experience-taught soft skills such as written and oral communication, problem-solving, the ability to work on a team, initiative, strong work ethic and leadership.

Fortunately for Biola students, there are plenty of ways to gain leadership and work experience on campus. Biola has several great student leadership organizations that offer roles to anyone from freshmen to seniors.

Time spent in student leadership roles can provide opportunities to develop and hone marketable skills for your resumé, which could make the difference in whether or not you land that dream internship or job. Here are some ways student leadership roles can help your career goals.

1. You don’t need much (or any) prior experience!

    For most roles, student leadership organizations will not disqualify candidates based on previous experience or major background. For instance, you do not have to be a biblical studies or Christian ministries major who went on missions trips in high school to join a Student Missionary Union trip. Nor do you have to be a political science major with past student government experience in order to represent your dorm community in the Student Government Association. 

    2. Learn how to work within a structure and community

    Most student leadership organizations on campus fall into one of two categories. Some like SGA and SMU are entirely student-run, with only one faculty or staff member to advise its leadership. Others like Spiritual Development, Student Success and SEID employ students who report to full-time staff members. Either way, their work structures closely resemble those in the post-graduate job world, allowing you to get a taste of how to work in a defined role within the scope of a larger organization. You also get to join a community of driven students and professionals who are passionate about their various roles, strengthening each other not just in their work but also in their pursuit of Christlike living.

    3. Receive valuable mentorship – and give some too

    Every department is led by experienced students or professionals who know what it’s like to be in your shoes. They want to help you grow not just as young professionals but also as a person and follower of Christ. Part of their job may be to train student interns, but many of them go above and beyond and become mentors to those same students as well. You might get a chance to become a mentor, too. For instance, Resident Advisors in Housing and Residence Life are tasked with leading the community on their dorm floor either by themselves or with a partner. This teaches incredible leadership and communication skills that easily transfer to jobs across a variety of industries.

    Want to know more about joining student leadership? Check out the many on-campus student leadership roles on Handshake

    If you would like help searching for an on-campus job, finding that dream internship, or any other career help, make an appointment with your Peer Internship Ambassador.

    Austin Green is the Resume Reviewer and Writing Ambassador for the Career Center. He can be reached at resume.review@biola.edu.