A college degree counts for a lot in today’s workforce, but it isn’t all your future boss is looking for.

Job-seekers need to think about what sets them apart from the student sitting next to them in the classroom or other candidates interviewing for the same position as them, says Amanda Wooden, director of the Grossnickle Career Services Center at Columbia College.

Most often, the difference comes down to the hard skills and experience you can bring to the table.

Resume/job application

Below are five ways to strengthen your resume for the industry you desire to break into that can help you stand out to employers:

1. Internships

An internship can serve as a trial run for your chosen field. This experience allows you to explore your future career in more depth, gain professional skills outside of the academic setting and network with others in the profession. Career Services can help you prepare for your internship by assisting with your search and scheduling opportunities for you to practice your interview skills.

2. Job shadowing

Job shadowing can be a great way to test career possibilities and gain valuable experience. Observing a professional at work on a daily basis in your desired field can help you envision how you could fit into a similar role in the future. Career Services can help you look into what shadowing opportunities exist.

3. Volunteer work in your industry

Participating in relevant volunteer work can showcase your capabilities and display that you have motivations beyond simply making money. This serves as a great chance to get your foot in the door.

4. Professional organizations/associations

Being a member of a professional organization or association specific to your industry can bear fruit in multiple ways. These groups exist in most fields as a means of networking and continued education, plus they typically have job boards where openings are listed and discounted memberships for students.

5. Alternative part-time or full-time jobs

There might be positions that are open in your industry but aren’t the specific job title you’re seeking. Even if just for a short time, have an open mind about alternative roles that would give you “similar” experiences to what you want.

More resources are available from the Grossnickle Career Services Center, which can be contacted at 573-875-7425, careerservices@ccis.edu or by visiting Missouri Hall 219 on main campus. Students may set up in-person or virtual appointments for personalized assistance by logging into their Aviso account to connect with a Career Advisor.