Climbing Up the Ladder: A Guide to Attaining Leadership Positions
Being a business major has to do with a lot more than just reading a textbook or completing complex math problems. It has to do with networking, getting involved on campus, and exhibiting leadership skills that not enough classes may take into their own hands to teach to their students. However, those who have been getting involved in organizations such as Collegiate Women in Business are already ahead of the game. Collegiate Women in Business has helped us with the skills already included in our pillars: empower, prepare, and connect, which are all valuable tools in such a competitive and popular career field. However, many of us are now asking ourselves, “Where do we go from here?” What can we do to go beyond what we have already achieved, and impress those who will review our resumes in the near future?
There are over 700 organizations at Virginia Tech, and many more leadership positions within these organizations. Multiple positions can exist for each organization, including President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, or Historian. In fact, Collegiate Women in Business offers a variety of positions to its members- a marketing committee consisting of multiple members with roles fit to their unique skills, and writers for the Chronicles, an online blog of CWIB’s. By inquiring the leaders of different organizations in order to understand their perspective on how they developed such skills, you can already get a lead on attaining such positions by showing interest in getting involved.
Most of recruitment for leadership positions occur in the beginning of the fall semester, but for those who are still seeking leadership positions, do not fret – there is a lot of preparing that you can get done during the next year, and it is much better to be a dedicated and involved member in your organization before signing on to the executive board. And most of all, being in a club to begin with shows a lot of commitment in working hard for your future, especially in an organization such as Collegiate Women in Business, which emphasizes all the skills necessary for success. Attend workshops, meetings, and treks to get a grasp on what CWIB prioritizes. This is no different than being an active employee and engaging with your bosses and peers. The level of commitment you put forth will be recognized, whether you notice it at first or not.
Because being an organization leader can come with a lot of responsibilities, there is usually an extensive application process that precedes being appointed to a position. For Collegiate Women in Business, one can get involved during the beginning of the fall semester. During the 2019-2020 school year, an email was sent out in October with a sign-up link for those who wanted to get involved in either the marketing committee or the Chronicles. This sign-up was also announced during the monthly meeting, and new members were able to gain more insight on what responsibilities came with these roles by listening to current officers. Pay attention to the little details of each organization, internship, or job regarding their application process — overlooking something trivial may end up being a disadvantage to you in the end.
Many of these leadership applications consist of a written portion, either a short answer or an essay. These questions can be about anything, such as your leadership skills, experiences, or why you want to get involved. The best way to write these answers is to show genuine interest in what you want to do for the club, internship, or job. Mention events you have attended and showcase the small details that show the application committee that you are dedicated. Then, make sure you highlight your skills to guarantee your ability in being a great asset to the organization. Don’t forget to utilize buzzwords that allow the application committee to connect your skills to the ones they seek.
Once you pass the initial application, you should be notified about the next step of the process. Most clubs will hold interviews because of how much one-on-one meetings can provide insight into your abilities, people skills, and dedication. You can do a lot to prepare for this step, and at least a little preparation is necessary to have a successful interview.
One way you can prepare is by writing down your top achievements and skills, anything that would help assure your interviewers of your capabilities. Next, you can search on Google for potential questions that might come up for your particular position. For example, when searching for questions that might come up in a position for the Chronicles, you might want to search for “interview questions for journalists.” Practice answering these questions using the bullets you wrote before, and get a good grip on what you would want to say, or not say, during the interview.
Another way to prepare is to get a friend to ask you interview questions on the spot without any preparation beforehand. This way, you can improve your ability in quick but knowledgeable responses, and get a good idea on what questions might be asked. For any particular questions you get stuck on, make sure you review these thoroughly in case your interviewer asks a similar one. By preparing well for your interview questions, you can go above and beyond the expectations of the interviewer and take a huge step towards the position you want!
For most positions, the last step will be waiting to hear back on whether you landed the position or not. For those who do, congratulations! However, it is important to revisit the responsibilities of your new position and reevaluate if you will be able to uphold these requirements. If so, you can accept your new position and wait for further instructions. Always remember to thank the committee for your offer!
If you do not get the position you desired, there is no need to worry! Rejections will happen more often than not, but new positions open up every year, and you should not settle for a role that you do not have much interest in. Take the time to build your skills, and by the next time you apply, your organization will have a much better idea of who you are and your commitment to the position.
Competitive career fields can require skills such as leadership and communication. To demonstrate these skills, you should join organizations and seek leadership positions that you are interested in. By putting your full effort into the application process, your organization should be able to see your dedication and skills and accurately evaluate whether you will be a good fit for the position or not. Going through with these processes in college will not only make you a contributing member of your organization, but also prepare you for real-world applications of these steps! Get a head start and don’t be afraid to take advantage of leadership positions here at school, and especially in Collegiate Women in Business, to gain those much needed abilities!
Collegiate Women in Business’ 2019-2020 Leadership Team