When it comes to getting hired most college students know there are three crucial items any potential job seeker must have: a resume, a cover letter and a list of references. While most employers require a resume and cover letter from potential candidates, references can sometimes be an element of the hiring process that students may overlook.
In reality, a student’s reference page has the potential to push a student from the maybe pile into the yes pile for professionals. References are unique in that they go much more in depth than a resume or even a cover letter will. What others say about you as a person and as an employee is very influential.
Although students may think what their past boss, coach or professor says about them in their reference is out of their hands, students very much have the ability to influence their own references by making a lasting impact on someone. The following students offer some suggestions for our CM readers:
1. “It’s good to continue conversation outside your regular place of meeting.”
– Tony Castellano, Boston College 13’
Taking the time to get to know a professor outside of class, an advisor outside of an appointment or a boss outside of work is extremely valuable. It’s likely they will remember you better and gain a sense of your true personality.
2. “Going to my teacher’s office hours on a regular basis has helped me form a better bond with my teachers.”
– Alessandra Giugliano, UCLA 14’
Office hours are not just there as a time slot to beg your teacher for extra credit. These required hours can be a great way to not only seek advice on academics but also get to know your teachers on a personal level. It’s possible that you may have more in common with them than you think.
3. “Taking multiple classes that a professor offers (especially if it is one in your major) has helped me get to know them better.”
– Amanda Davis, Boston College 12’
Most students know that when a professor has over one hundred students it’s sometimes difficult to achieve that ideal bond you want with them. However, taking multiple classes with a professor allows students to get to know their teacher better and shows that they are interested in learning from them.
4. “Putting in the extra effort with anyone always makes a difference when I need a good reference.”
– Nina Shapiro, Carleton College 14’
It’s true; a little bit goes a long way. By taking the time to stay late after work, hand in an extra assignment or even do a favor for someone will always be viewed positively in a potential references eyes.
5. “If I’m interested in a certain subject I’ll make sure to seek out someone in that field and see if I can do extra work or even participate in a work study.”
– Paul Massad Massachusetts, College of Pharmacy and Health Services 15’
Today most professors are more than just teachers and use their time out of class to work on projects in their field of study. Asking to get involved with what they are doing, participate in a study or even shadow them during their work will show them your interested in their field and are taking your major and interests seriously.