Looking for your first job or internship can be really intimidating. Especially when you’re still in school and at every networking event, people ask “So, what do you do?” You might be tempted to respond with “Um, I don’t have a job yet so…I’m just a student.” 🤷 Don’t let this question trip you up. You’ve got a lot going for you —it’s just a matter of knowing what to bring up in a professional conversation.
Flaunt Your Classroom Experience
You may be hesitant to bring up classroom experience but you absolutely should. Especially in tech, the hands-on experience you are getting in the classroom will be transferable to practical skills on the job. Have you taken a coding class? Are you in a graphic design program? Did you build a website as a school project? Those are all totally valid things to bring up.
Clubs and Extracurriculars Count Too
What you choose to do says a lot about who you are and what you’re passionate about. Some of the best pre-professional experience you’re going to get is in the school clubs you join. Anything from doing the layout for the school newspaper to volunteering at a Minecraft camp for kids will impress professionals and give you something to talk about.
Make It a Two-Way Conversation
Keep in mind that anyone you’re talking to has been where you are today. We all started somewhere and most of us began as students. Take advantage of that fact by asking them to share practical advice for someone in your position. How did they break into their industry? What great career advice got them from Junior to Senior level?
So, the next time you meet someone new and they ask you what you do, don’t panic. Answer confidently with something like, “I’m currently attending Boston University where I major in Computer Science. Lately I’ve been working with the University TV channel to host and stream weekly shows for anyone to watch anywhere. What do you do?”