By: Garrick Nichols
This past summer, I had to analyze corporate restructuring data in order to prepare reports for industry regulators proving there were no gender biases in the process. While this project sounds time-consuming and high-level, in actuality, it took minimal time and was easier to complete thanks to teaching myself Visual Basic Application (VBA). Teaching yourself technical skills, such as coding in python or earning a certification in inbound marketing, can not only simplify your work, but also enhance your resume and job/internship competitiveness.
When I had time in-between projects this summer, I began learning VBA through a free YouTube tutorial. When a new project came up that would allow me to apply my new-found knowledge, I was able to implement an automated process that ran processes more efficiently and due to such, my employer still uses it today. Rather than enduring a lengthy manual process, I was able to save myself and my manager time, which allowed me to take on more projects, and increase the breadth of my resume. More and more employers are beginning to recognize the importance of technical skills, which means they are more likely to be looking for them on your resume and in your experiences.
Gaining valuable experiences and knowledge to prepare for various career paths can happen both inside and outside of internships. One way to build skills outside of internships is through classes. I rely on this Technical Skills Guide when advising other students during walk-in appointments on ways to increase their technical competencies offered while at BU. Once acquired, you can feature your new skills on your resume to make a stronger impact on employers when communicating your “value added” (i.e. your X-factor).
So, while you are home over break, if you have downtime during your next internship, or just have some extra personal time, consider investing in yourself and your skills toolkit! You may find the knowledge you acquire will not only positively impact yourself, but leave a lasting change and impact on a team, employer, or project for years to come.