Importance of applying

As cheesy as it sounds — the college experience presents students with many avenues for growth. Texas A&M prides itself on providing numerous opportunities for professional development, including job fairs that are well-endorsed by its students. 

However, are we taking advantage of every opportunity?

Although job fairs are widely advertised across campus, they don’t always have tangible benefits that you can put on a resume. Think essay contests and academic achievements, such as the dean’s list that exemplify you as a distinguished student. 

Attending a job fair, you are hoping to secure — well, a job — and without it you are left with nothing more than a pat on the back for your efforts. 

Within each department, A&M offers academic and career-oriented competitions that are far less discussed by students than other opportunities like job fairs. The primary goal is to secure career-related experience to add to your resume. But why are we limiting ourselves to only work experience and not achievements? 

You may ask — what importance do competitions provide? 

Showing off your work experience can reveal your skills to your potential employer, however, contests and accolades give you credit for being the best, thus setting you apart from the rest of the competition. They provide a resume with an extra pizazz that a job experience limits.

Your resume may already seem perfect. Compacted into one page, 12-point Times New Roman and each section contains relevant professional information. Not your high school essay on why you love capybaras, or your first-place beer-chugging prize. As cool as these things may be, they do little to show an employer you can succeed in your field. 

A resume is the first step into an employer's door, and you want them to see a dedication to your craft. Competitions give credibility to the applicant’s resume and make them stand apart with their ability to succeed. 

Plus, on an even better note, you can win money prizes. Like, actual cash. That, along with being recognized by A&M at ceremonies, but let me not inflate your heads.

A&M is full of these opportunities. Multiple resources, including the career center, advisors and even the unending emails you receive every day, provide you with thousands of resume-building possibilities. 

Companies and nationally recognized academic journals, as well as A&M, post multiple competitions across campus, welcoming students to give their best efforts, and in reward, open the doors of opportunity. 

As an English major, being a published author weighs more than being a student worker as it displays that your writing capabilities can reach audiences. While it may not be listed as job experience, the implications being you can work to create novels or research reports is impressive.

I have thrown myself into applying to these competitions because regardless of the field I go into, writing and communication are always necessary. Publications especially look to hire well-established writers, and while working part-time at a company that publishes books or working on campus as a student grader gave me skills, it does not highlight that I was actually able to produce well-written pieces. 

Students within other majors have a variety of the same capabilities, and contests such as horse judging, meat showing or engineering project showcases allow students to use A&M’s full career-building potential. Without utilizing these competitions, you risk not capitalizing on the all-encompassing college experience that A&M offers for your career! 

Not to mention A&M’s competitive teams are making national headlines winning competitions such as meat judging! Imagine being able to add that to your resume and earn those bragging rights. 

I task you with digging into your inbox through the endless automated emails and find dozens of opportunities that are not just work experience. 

While massively annoying, I guarantee you that buried deep inside that unending pool of emails; are resume-building hidden gems.  

Saanya Troutman is an English senior and opinion writer for The Battalion.

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