Imagine yourself in the driver's seat -- the personnel director, who has to pick the best candidate for the job. The selection has been narrowed down to two well-qualified candidates. Jill is a 3.0 graduate with leadership experience in various campus organizations, a few volunteer experiences, a semester of international education in England, a number of related summer jobs, a campus job doing research for a professor, and an internship in the field she desires to work in the future. Bill is a 3.0 graduate with the same major and no experience outside of the classroom. Who would you choose?
Employers generally want as many guarantees as possible that they are hiring a person who can do the job. The best way to assure this is to hire people with a track record of relevant and practical experiences, someone who has learned and tested on-the-job competencies. In many situations, a person with a lower grade point with more experience may well win out over a candidate with a higher grade point.
If it is obvious that people with experience are more employable, then why doesn't everyone obtain as much experience as possible? There is probably not a simple answer to this dilemma. For some students it is a lack of awareness and encouragement; for others it is a lack of defined goals and motivation to seek out these experiences. Most students lead busy and complicated lives, and the path of least resistance and procrastination allows some to return to old jobs or jobs they don't have spend much time and effort obtaining. Some jobs provide excellent sources of needed money and it is difficult, if not impossible, to pass them up for related jobs with lower pay or unpaid experiences. No matter the reason, life goes on and there are always repercussions to our early decisions. How are your decisions today going to be judged by employers in the future? What investments are you making for yourself, future lifestyle, and possible family?