Professional Advice for College Students: A Panel Moderator’s Takeaways

Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

This year, I have been running all of the special events for a club on campus in the intersection of business and technology. I have held several professional events, panels, social events (all on Zoom). While I’ve always gone to events like this before, I’ve always been one to join types of calls and stay muted or go to these meetings and sit in the back.

Since I’ve been moderating these panels, setting up the logistics of the events, and advertising them, I’ve had to pay attention and be fully interactive with the events I hold. As an unintended consequence, I’ve actually learned so much.

While I’m personally not experienced enough to give my peers advice, I’ve learned so much from talking to industry professionals, recruiters, etc. over the last couple of months that I want to share!

Professional Advice for College Students: A Panel Moderator’s Takeaways

Make Connections and Stay Connected

One of your most important assets in a job hunt or just professional life, in general, can be your network. In college, you can grow your network if you just put yourself out there. A lot of getting opportunities, opening doors, and advancing yourself is being at the right place at the right time. Know the right people, and they’ll bring you to that right place. The same goes the other way around. Drag your friends to avenues you want to explore and explore them together. Commit to the road up, and bring your peers with you.

Make Learning Your Objective

In college, academics should be a priority. In your professional life, your main goal should still be to learn. Always continue learning, and seeking to gain skills, friends, knowledge, experience. The things you are doing should be exciting and also challenging, if it’s not then you’re in the wrong place.

Communication Skills are Important

In all roles, even the most technical of roles, it is important to have good soft skills. More likely than not, you will have to work with people or on a team. This one’s kind of obvious when you think about it, but it’s also something we often overlook while assessing ourselves.

Do Something You’re Passionate About

In high school, I got this piece of advice often. I never quite believed it because as much as I wanted to do something I loved, I didn’t even know what I really loved and more importantly, I didn’t know if I could be successful doing whatever it is when I found it. A couple of years later, I’ve finally learned this lesson the hard way. It’s way easier to succeed if you care, and while you can fake it all the way, it will be hard on you internally.

You Don’t Need 5 Years of Work Experience to Land a Role

While it may not seem like it, employers don’t need to see a crazy amount of experience to get the job. Everyone who has interned had to have gotten the first internship sometime. Without work experience, you can still make the experience for yourself by doing projects, volunteering, leading a club, etc!

These are just some of the key points I’ve heard iterated again and again over the last couple of panels that I’ve moderated. I think these are good points, and often things that we forget. If you ever have the chance to moderate a panel, I highly recommend it, because that’s a role that’s overlooked as well. Through this experience, I’ve grown, networked, learned, and practiced those very tips we talked about without even noticing. And that’s how it should come eventually — naturally.

iced coffee all year round kinda gal. workout challenge enthusiast. vscode girl who writes sometimes.

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