Simply going to classes and getting A's on exams are not enough to help you develop the essential skills that you will need at your first jobs after graduation. Regardless what industry or field you are in, companies are always looking for people who can think independently, creatively, and collaboratively; have the social skills to lead and manage a team of diverse members; and communicate their ideas clearly in verbal and written forms. We strongly recommend that you consider engaging with some of the activities in this section to build those essential skills.
Engage in Research Experiences
Academic research provides an opportunity to put theory into actions. Imagine learning about how to ride a bicycle in books; you will never know if you can actually ride a bicycle unless you get on a bicycle and try. The same goes for science and mathematics learning. When you participate in research activities, you discover your strengths and weaknesses and interests for future careers, be motivated to take relevant classes, and develop transferable skills that prepare you for research and industry careers.
There are generally two ways you can be involved in research in college: work with a professor on campus or participate in summer research experiences for undergraduates.
Working with a Professor
The best way to get involved with research on campus is by talking to various professors about what they do and whether they have funding to support you in their research. Do this as early as possible.
If you don't know where to start, check out the University Research Opportunity Program (UROP) on campus. They will help you get started.
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs)
For research experiences for undergraduates (REUs), PathwaysToScience.org has a searchable database of 650+ summer research programs in all STEM disciplines. These are all fully-funded opportunities including programs sponsored by NSF, NASA, NIH, etc. You can also search directly on National Science Foundation’s REU website. Your professors might also have additional information about what REUs are available in your discipline.
You will get paid to do research in the summer and most likely receive free housing and travel to and from the REU site. Since many of these REU projects can lead to academic year research, honor/senior thesis, or master’s thesis, participating in an REU is a great way to find out if a research career might suite you and if the school/program is where you can see yourself in for a graduate study.
The best time to apply to an REU is the summer/fall semester in the beginning of your junior year after you have completed most of the lower-division core courses.
To apply, you will need to prepare a Curriculum Vitae (CV) documenting all of your professional and academic preparation, a personal statement (no more than 2 pages) providing your educational background and goals and explaining how your interests might align with their program, and request 2-3 letters of recommendations from faculty (science or math faculty are preferred) who can attest to your academic/professional preparation in relation to the research areas.
Talk to your METRIC faculty mentor about how to get started and how to prepare those documents. Check out our Preparing Your Statements for Graduate School Applications to learn about how to write a personal statement. Most of the tips provided there also apply to REU applications. You can also check out METRIC event calendar for workshops on those topics.
Career Development Center
The Career Development Center (CDC), located in Brotman Hall Room 250, aims to guide students through the process of educational, career, and personal discovery in preparing them for success in the global workforce. They do so through career counseling, employer connections, and professional development opportunities.
You can view the CDC calendar to attend a workshop, information session, and Career Fairs. To RSVP for workshops and webinars, log in to CareerLINK, select Events, then Workshops and RSVP.
You can visit during CDC drop-in hours to get your resume critiqued or to get answers to quick questions (15-minute session). You can also schedule a 30-minute to 1-hour appointment with a Career Counselor by calling 562.985.4151 or using the CareerLINK chicklet on the Single-Sign-On (SSO) page.
Check out their website above for more information, especially the page on Resume & Cover Letters.
Work at The Learning Center (TLC)
The student employees of The Learning Center (TLC) help CSULB students on their academic journeys. They facilitate learning, help students build knowledge, and build their own professional experience. Every position at TLC offers an opportunity to work with a multitude of student populations, and serve the greater purpose of enhancing student success on campus.
Working at TLC is rewarding and looks great on a resume. Having a strong communication skill is not exclusive for a teaching career, every company requires their employees to be able to explain complex ideas using a layman language.
By working at TLC, you will practice and improve your oral and written communication skills in a professional setting; network and build relationships with peers, faculty, staff, and other CSULB campus entities; gain mastery and deeper understanding of your academic discipline; and receive professional development and training.
We recommend you to apply to one or more of the following positions during your junior and senior years:
- Academic Coach
- Supplemental Instruction Leader
- Content Tutor
Instruction on how to apply are available at Applying - TLC.
As a student, you may work up to 20 hours a week on campus, and may be employed by more than one program if you meet all the qualifications.
As part of the Lois J. Swanson Leadership Resource Center (LRC), the mission of the Leadership Academy is to prepare CSULB students to be the world’s best leaders and maximize their leadership potential with a commitment to serve others. The Leadership Academy program is open to all CSULB students.
The Leadership Academy is a curriculum of workshops and experiences designed to cultivate leadership excellence. The workshops help students to enhance their leadership competencies as well as develop their leadership potential. A service learning project of a minimum of 10 hours is also required.
To apply into the Leadership Academy program, first complete their online interest form.
CSULB offers free access to a myriad of short online courses in LinkedIn Learning (e.g., data science, programming, excel, etc.). It mines the information in your LinkedIn profile and makes recommendations as to what courses you can take to build your professional skills.
To get started, log on to your Single Sign-On (SSO) and search for the LinkedIn Learning chicklet. We strongly recommend that you use this resource to increase your technical skills and explore possible career options.