10 Ways Leadership Roles Will Help You Succeed After College

Student leaders have the unique opportunity to learn and lead during their college years - an experience not easily replicated after graduation. Learn how individuals who serve in student leadership roles are poised to be successful in the workforce after completing college.


1. You'll gain confidence.

Many student leaders are chosen or voted into their positions by their peers. Having your abilities recognized by others is empowering, and the work you do in a leadership role is likely to be recognized. You can gain confidence in your leadership skills by starting a club on-campus, writing for the school newspaper, organizing sports rallies or serving as a tour guide for incoming students.

2. You can develop communication skills.

Public speaking plays a major role in many careers today. As a student leader, you'll have to speak with confidence and poise to diverse groups about your organization's mission and goals. Diplomacy skills and persuasion tactics are applicable to almost any career. You can develop your communication skills by speaking at school events, mentoring incoming freshmen or being part of a school's radio broadcast team.

3. You'll gain responsibility.

Student leaders aren't only responsible for themselves - they also have extended responsibilities that affect a wide range of people. Leaders of a group must not only make sure that tasks get done, but that all members of the organization are performing to the best of their abilities. If someone doesn't follow through on a task, leaders make sure that, ultimately, the task is completed. This responsibility can be a lesson on how to hold others accountable.

4. You can develop negotiation skills.

Most student groups work on collaborative projects that may have competing interests. Student leaders must learn to establish priorities and compromise when necessary. Success occurs when the integrity of a project is maintained and everyone involved feels valued and empowered. This form of negotiation is invaluable for helping any group meet its goals, including professional teams in the workforce. To further develop your negotiation skills, consider taking a conflict-resolution or cooperative learning workshop offered either on-campus or off-campus.

5. You'll be able to network.

Student leaders may communicate with many people that the average student doesn't typically interact with on a daily basis. In a leadership role, one can become familiar with school administrators, leaders from other campus groups, managers in off-campus partner organizations and other high-profile figures. Building relationships with these people can yield valuable personal and professional contacts.

6. You'll gain management skills.

A strong leader is one whose management skills become second nature. Leaders must oversee operational tasks, make budgets, prioritize workloads, build consensus and perform other executive duties as necessary. Practicing these skills in college can teach you how to use your personal talents for the overall advantage of your group. You'll likely make mistakes, but learning how to handle them now can better prepare you for the workforce.

7. You can hone problem-solving skills.

Student leaders have many obligations to meet while maintaining a full course load and attending to other personal responsibilities. It will take some creative problem-solving to get everything done and keep life in balance. Leadership experiences allow you to hone multitasking abilities that future job and life responsibilities demand.

8. You'll discover new talents.

While student leadership involves delegating work and holding others accountable, leaders have to complete some tasks on their own. For example, if you're leading a small group, you may have to serve as an accountant or creative director for your organization's new marketing campaign. New tasks can be challenging, but they can also awaken undiscovered talents that may prove useful in the future.

9. You'll be recognized.

The student leader often becomes the face of the group he or she represents. If a leader is involved and successful, individuals from all fields of study may recognize the leader around campus, even when official business is not being conducted. Leaders are often approached with unique and engaging opportunities by other students and faculty members. Leadership work may also lead to school awards, which can add another distinction to your resume.

10. You'll improve your resume.

Employers recognize the responsibilities that student leaders take on, and they respect the initiative it shows to head a college organization. With leadership experience on your resume, you're more likely to get the attention of a hiring manager. A student leadership role is also a great talking point during interviews.

Part of being a good student leader is forming connections with faculty members. Learn five ways to get to know a professor.

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