The desire to set yourself apart from the competition in the current job market is an extremely daunting task. Since kindergarten, we have been shuffled along a pre-determined path; elementary school, then middle school, then high school and then decide on college. In college we must choose a career path. Like the herd being led to the pasture, we are not discernible from the countless sheep standing next to us. Similar GPAs, backgrounds, experiences, and hobbies make it even harder for us to differentiate ourselves amongst our competition and even more importantly, it makes it near impossible for employers to determine which candidates are best suited for certain jobs.
Enter the professional organization: specifically tailored clubs that meet your career interests and serve as an introduction into the post-collegiate world of your profession. Professional organizations are ideal for a number of reasons. Below I will highlight a few of the more common reasons students choose to become actively involved with their chosen professional organization.
Arguably one of the best reasons to join your applicable professional organization is for the networking experience. A well run professional organization will give you opportunities to engage with other like-minded students, important faculty, as well as professionals in your chosen field. As vice president of IU’s American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), I have had amazing opportunities to connect with professionals. Through contacts with ASSE, I was able to secure an internship this past summer and attend numerous professional conferences. Becoming involved with your professional organization is one of the best ways to expand your network.
Additionally, becoming involved within your professional organization is a fantastic way to practice for the real working world. For example professional organizations give you the chance to practice leadership, public speaking, or organizational skills. These skills are essential for any career, especially ones in public health. When an employer looks at your résumé and sees consistent involvement with your professional organization, it will tell them how committed and driven you are to your chosen field.
Another benefit of joining a professional organization is the opportunity to meet like-minded students in your area of interest. I have made many friends through ASSE, which has made my time in my core classes as well as my time at IU more rewarding and enjoyable.
If you are unsure where to find the best organization that fits your interest and goals, there are a number of resources that will help make the decision easier. I would begin by talking to some of your core course professors to see which organizations they would recommend or are involved with. They will be your best resources for your specific major. If you are unsure which direction is right for you, spend some time walking around the SPH hallways; there are flyers and bulletin boards posted for every major club. Additionally your academic advisor or career advisor is a great resource for questions or information. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to really stand out!
Clara Califf is a senior at Indiana University. She plans to graduate in May 2015 with a degree in Safety with a minor in Environmental Management. After graduation Clara hopes to fulfill her lifelong dream of joining the Peace Corps.
Categories: Career Advice
IUSPH Career Services
Job opportunities for Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington majors are diverse and expanding as the emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle grows around the world. Career Services experts in each of our academic departments will provide one-on-one counseling and career building opportunities throughout your academic career, from choosing the right major to developing a strategy to find a job. They can assist you with:
•resume and cover letter preparation
•graduate school preparation