Want To Be Valuable? Develop Your Perspective

New and varied experiences make you a more attractive employee

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It was not too long that I was applying to college and attempting to fare the admissions process storm. One of the key pieces of advice that I received at the time was that colleges look for more than just dedication to academics. They evaluate character, work experience, philanthropy and extra-curriculars. More importantly, colleges seek out the element that makes you different than the next person. I call this element "perspective."

Much like the college admissions process, future employers are also looking for strong perspective -- the sum of your experiences that makes you valuable. It includes the random bits of seemingly useless information that can actually be applied in the workplace.

Knowing your perspective and being able to accurately represent it to others will be a beneficial asset when applying to internships and jobs. It will take time to learn what it is and it is usually always changing, but here are a few suggestions for ways to develop your own perspective.

Take the most obscure class you can find.
For me, it was Australian Juvenile Delinquency. If there is room in your schedule, I suggest taking an unusual class that interests you. You could be surprised by how the curriculum might actually apply to your major.

Volunteer in your community.
It may sound ironic, but I have found that living the college life can sometimes actually shut you out from the world. Volunteering is a great way to connect with your community and develop greater awareness about the issues affecting people around you.

Consume media that you would not normally.
DVR an episode of a Spanish soap opera or read a magazine with way too much information about motocross racing. As an advertiser, you will need to tap into the mindsets of a variety of consumers and this is one way to start.

Writing a blog is a great way to voice opinions about what you encounter. Having a point of view is very important in advertising and blogging is good practice that future employers can also read.

I cannot stress enough the importance of traveling. I studied abroad twice during my college career (Australia and London), and while both experiences were very different, I came away with useful knowledge of other people and cultures. Take note of the advertising too!

Developing perspective cannot be artificial or deliberate, and it is not something to cross off of your To-Do list. It is something that will be in the back of your mind as you make decisions during the rest of your college life (and beyond)!

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