Career Corner: The Purpose of Engaging in Experience

Sophia G. Perez joined Nova Southeastern University’s Office of Career Development in August 2018 as a career peer advisor. She is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Behavioral Neuroscience. Perez is excited to collaborate with students and help them meet their personal, academic and professional goals while reaching their full potential.


As a career peer advisor, I connect with undergraduate and graduate students as well as Alumni by providing professional peer-to-peer career development advice. I guide students in multiple areas including resumes, cover letters, job and internship searches, interview preparation and more. I am grateful for the opportunity to help students achieve their maximum potential, goals and aspirations.


Many students are eager to pursue experiences and recognize the importance of shaping their professional development, but what is the purpose behind engaging and participating in internships, research and leadership? Besides developing resumes and increasing competitiveness for jobs or graduate or medical school, experiences provide various benefits. Through interactive experiences, new skills are obtained, connections are established, perspectives are broadened and interests can be narrowed.


Develop new skills and apply knowledge

As a psychology major and behavioral neuroscience minor, I recognize the importance of developing professional experiences. I always emphasize the significance of building understanding through pursuing different experiences.


In the classroom, students develop extensive knowledge in various fields. With hands-on outside experiences, students can apply acquired information into the real-world through trial-and-error. Students also learn about a specific career’s typical day, refine and acquire skills, problem solve and connect with others who share similar and distinct goals. Essentially, opportunities promote insight through cooperating and learning from others’ experience, advice and perspective.


Make new connections

Besides my career peer advisor role, I also engage in leadership, research experiences, volunteering and more. Not only have I acquired new skills and connections with these opportunities, but I have also built lasting professional relationships by collaborating independently and alongside teams.


Consider the example of a student intern. Connections can be made with others who share similar goals. By developing positive professional relationships, colleagues can effectively provide support, advice and guidance based on previous experiences. Building connections facilitates learning through others’ experiences, establishes professional relationships and offers support.


Broaden your perspective

As a career peer advisor, I work alongside a cooperative team and get the opportunity to collaborate and provide insight to achieve goals. With teamwork, you understand how others approach situations and resolve them. As a team, ideas are offered and combined to generate effective solutions.


Collaboration expands perspective and increases insight about others’ experience, education and background. Distinct situations may require utilizing problem-solving skills to create solutions, and by understanding how others use strategies to approach situations, perspectives can be broadened and new aspects are considered.


Narrow your interests

Last year, I remember a student arrived for a resume appointment and I congratulated them on their psychology research experience. The student was contemplating potential psychology careers and noted the experience was an area of interest; when it concluded, they realized they did not want to pursue that area anymore. I recommended focusing on the positive: they acquired amazing research skills as an undergraduate and their psychology interests can be narrowed.


Broad areas of interest can be narrowed through engaging in new experiences. If a particular area is no longer of interest, other career interests can be narrowed and skills can still be developed. Moreover, pursuing opportunities can unexpectedly lead to finding passions and interests for a career you love. Searching up typical job responsibilities is simple; however, truly understanding a role is achieved through engagement.


Overall, experiences effectively prepare individuals for careers by increasing professional development. Additionally, individuals apply knowledge into the real-world and develop their abilities. Collaboration helps expand perspective and promotes unique ways to approach scenarios. Lastly, experiences can narrow down career interests when others are still considering.


If you are interested in searching for opportunities, I recommend focusing on your ultimate career goal and finding experiences to develop the necessary skills to achieve it. As a final note: I always advise my students when they are searching or engaging in an internship, research or leadership role, to think about what you can provide to the position and how the experience can help your personal and professional development.

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