By Jason Ioffe / Peers for Careers Correspondent
(As orginally published in the Ticker: http://ticker.baruchconnect.com/article/career-corner-leading/)
Baruch College’s student population, which consists of more than 14,000 undergraduate students, has given rise to more than 200 on-campus clubs and organizations. The mission of campus clubs can vary from focusing on professional development to health and fitness, religious and cultural history as well as honor societies and fraternities. All students, whether they began their Baruch journey as freshmen or transfer students, are actively encouraged to participate in these student-led activities. It is important to challenge yourself and go beyond merely attending events by actually stepping into a leadership position.
Club committees and executive boards allow students to exercise their strengths in a practical setting. For example, if you like graphic design, consider being the chair of publicity for any given club.
While clubs are nonprofit, they operate with real budgets and test problem-solving skills, both of which will translate directly to the workplace.
Coordinating amongst club members requires the ability to collaborate, negotiate and delegate. Furthermore, students will develop transferrable skills that are highly valued by employers, like attention to detail and time management.
Additionally, club leaders must constantly learn about their target audience because the student population is constantly evolving with the matriculation of new students.
Employers often look to hire students with campus leadership experience. The primary reason for this is due to the enhanced soft skills—verbal and written communication—that many club leaders possess. While courses may help you develop subject-matter expertise relevant to enter a given industry, the possession of soft skills is equally valued by employers. The constant refinement of your communication skills gained through experience leading a club will benefit you in your field of work.
It will also help you to feel comfortable meeting new people and building your professional network. By combining technical and soft skills, prospective employees show they can work well in any team to produce tangible results and stand out from the competition.
By getting involved in leadership roles during their undergraduate career, students also gain crucial insight into their own personal leadership styles and the roles they take on in group settings. Some people may be driven to achieve goals in short spans of time while others may excel at bringing people together or resolving team conflicts.
Everyone has unique strengths as leaders, and by understanding their individual strengths, students will discover what team settings work best for them. Applying personal strengths in the workplace results not only in more efficient work but also in creating a more pleasant and natural-feeling work environment.
As mentioned, there is an enormous variety of clubs in which you can participate. Take advantage of your time at Baruch to experiment with different interests and meet new people. There is no single best club to join, so explore and enjoy any that may appeal to you. Rest assured that all leadership positions on campus offer opportunities for personal development and can hold a strong place on your resume.
By making a positive impact on the college community, your legacy will live on long after graduation and guarantee a strong professional network to depend on for years to come.