Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Say "Goodbye" to Useless Class Assignments

How many times have you had to complete a class assignment you didn’t really want to do? You've sat there and stewed, thinking, “Why do I have to take this class? It doesn’t apply to me. I’m never going to use this again. This assignment is so boring!”

Because you’re reading this, you have officially lost all excuse to say that about a class assignment ever again. Instead…

Use your class assignments to build your resume.

With the start of a new term around the corner, this is your opportunity to use papers, projects, and group assignments as ways to build your resume and market yourself to future employers.

Don’t believe me? Consider this. You’re a communication studies student and you have to take a statistics class. Complete a project that uses statistics to inform people about a specific communication problem. You’re a biology student and you have to write an English paper. Write a paper about a topic related to science and demonstrate your writing ability. Or, say you’re a finance student and you have to do a big project for your required marketing class. It does everyone good to understand different sides of a business, so complete a project that promotes a new financial firm to the community.

These assignments might not be your favorite thing, but they will help you demonstrate that you are talented in several areas, not just your desired field.

Not convinced yet? Take the following next steps and give it a try:

  1. Ask yourself: What am I interested in? What might I want to do after graduation? What kind of experience do I want or need? Before you decide on what your class project topics will be, consider what you need in order to advance yourself.
  2. Review your class syllabus at the start of the term and highlight your opportunities. It doesn’t matter if it’s a paper, a group project, or a bunch of small assignments. Anything on that syllabus is fair game to craft and develop for a future employer. Select your assignment topics by considering the questions included above.
  3. Produce your best work. Check in with the professor during office hours to make sure you’re hitting the mark. You wouldn’t slack on a project if you were getting paid for it, right? Think of it this way… you’re paying to do this project, so you better make it good.
  4. As soon as you’re done, put it on your resume. This is especially great if you’re feeling like your resume has a bit too much white space. When you start applying for jobs or internships, you will be able to highlight the assignments that helped you understand the different components of a field you want to be in.

Your education provides you with more professional experience and opportunities than you think. It’s all about how intentional you are with selecting your topics for assignments and how you communicate the results. Think big picture and make your classes work for you.