I think sometimes there’s an underlying pressure in college to rack up as many experiences as possible so you’re more marketable when searching for a job. How many times do we hear something referred to as a “great resume-builder”? Don’t get me wrong, sometimes these are really awesome opportunities, but I think it can push us towards taking on many different short-term experiences and leads us to overlook the ways we can grow and gain really diverse skills through a longer-term opportunity.
I recognize this isn’t always realistic or feasible for everyone, but the majority of job experiences I’ve had have been for over a year. I worked my first high school job for over 5 years, have been with Career & Internship Services for over 3 years, and have held an ongoing internship for 1.5 years. I just wanted to take this opportunity to share a few unique benefits I’ve observed from being in the same experience for a longer period of time, whether that’s a job, extracurricular activity, service opportunity, etc.
Strong relationships – You can definitely form excellent relationships in a short period of time, but I’ve noticed you’re able to develop deeper relationships the longer you’re with people. In some cases, there simply isn’t a substitute for time. The longer you work with a group of people, the more challenges and victories you experience together, and you have the chance to get to know each others’ strengths, weaknesses, and personalities better. These relationships can become critical components of your network as well as your personal life.
Greater trust and autonomy – As you work within an organization, you’re building your reputation. Depending on the quality of your work, this can be a powerful opportunity to create a positive image for yourself and gain trust from your peers and leadership. This will likely lead to more opportunities to take on projects, work you’re interested in, etc. Additionally, if your supervisor knows you can be trusted, you’ll probably be given a bit more freedom in your role and might even be promoted. This isn’t something that comes after working somewhere for a month or two, typically; this is something that grows with time.
Deeper and diversified knowledge – The longer you’re involved in anything, the more you learn about it. Especially when you’re still figuring out what your career path might look like, this knowledge can be really valuable in helping determine what you do and don’t want to pursue in the future. On top of that, the longer I’ve worked somewhere, I’ve been given more chances to work with other departments or in other subject areas, leading to skills that are more diverse and easily transferable. Personally, I have preferred gaining a broader base of knowledge rather than working in super specific or narrow-focused roles, but again, it comes down to knowing yourself.
There’s much more I could add, but I hope this lends some insight on a couple of the benefits I’ve seen through longer-term involvement in various experiences. Again, each person’s path will look different, and I think there’s great value in having some long-term experiences as well as some that last for a shorter timeframe. It’s important to remember there is value and insight to be gained from any experience, no matter how long it lasts.
Photo source: Unsplash | Rachel Moenning