Sodexo USA Careers
     March 2012, Issue 24
Your View into a World Leader of Quality of Life Services
Professional Organizations on Campus Launch Your Career
By Derren Thompson, Manager, Diversity Recruitment

Whether you're a freshman or a senior, getting involved in a professional organization on campus is an important step towards developing your future career. Take a look around campus; there are a number of professional organizations that are just waiting to help ignite your career.

Most colleges have several professional organizations represented on campus for students to join; some even continue this relationship at the graduate level. Joining these organizations as a student offers a number of benefits, often including:

  • Reduced or free dues rates
  • Access to professionals in your field of study
  • Internship and co-op opportunities
  • Specialized training seminars, workshops and conferences
  • Mentoring opportunities within that organization

So, what kinds of organizations are out there?
One student-run organization in the hospitality field is the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality or NSMH. This is a student-run organization that addresses diversity and multiculturalism, as well as career development for its student members. Students make up the entire leadership of this organization, from the chair to the secretary and treasurer. The great thing about NSMH is that they celebrate diversity, so everyone is invited to join. There are local chapters at most schools that have a hospitality program.

In addition to professional organizations like NSMH, other groups such as fraternities and sororities, as well as business fraternities, offer great opportunities for students to develop their future career.

Joining a professional organization or other mentoring group offers you a number of personal benefits, allowing you to

  • Meet people who are like-minded.
  • Discover mentors who can guide you.
  • Participate in events with both students and professionals in attendance.
  • Participate in great networking opportunities.
  • Sharpen resume writing skills.
  • Brush up on interviewing skills.
  • Apply for internships and externships.
  • Identify scholarship opportunities.
  • Make connections that can lead to you being hired.
  • Take on leadership/chapter officer roles to gain leadership experience that could make you more attractive to employers.

What type of opportunities are you looking for? Take some time to map out a few plans that will get you started. Think about the benefits that will come from joining a professional organization. Reach for your goals.

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Editor: Trish Freshwater,
Senior Communications Manager