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Building my resume as a 2nd year undergrad

  1. Feb 23, 2015 #1
    I am a second year physics undergrad at UCSB with a decent gpa (3.65). I am wondering if anyone here has any suggestions of things I should get involved with to improve my resume for future research/internships. As of now I do not have much of anything to put on a resume, besides non-physics summer jobs. I have been taking extra classes like comp sci(python and C++) and machine shop to develop useful internship skills.
    I would love to do something physics related over the summer, the only restriction is that I have to be home(near Sacramento). UC Davis would be within driving range, but as a non-Davis student I don't think my chances of getting a research spot there would be too high. I do not want to be idle all summer, but I'm not sure what I could realistically do.
    Any suggestions or tips would be much appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2015 #2
    I'm in pretty much the same boat as you, but third year in the UK. The advice I have been given is never to play down non-physics work experience. Employers know you haven't had time to do much as an undergraduate, so if you have physics-based experience, great, but they are also looking for transferable skills like teamwork, communication, time management etc. Try to flesh out these skills from your experience with summer jobs and specify them on your resume.

    Also think about specific skills you've gained from being at university in addition to your gpa (learning to use lab equipment, managing deadlines, problem solving etc.), plus any extra-curricular activities you've done such as sports, student societies (I think you call them fraternities?) or just hobbies in general. If you haven't really done any extra-curricular activities at university, this might be something to pursue, as employers want to see that you are a well rounded individual in addition to being academically gifted; your interests help them figure out what sort of person you are.

    Your extra classes are great, and already separate you from plenty of other students. Don't be afraid to talk loudly about your strengths. I guess my summary would be to say that I too used to think I had nothing to put on a resume, but in fact, employers are not expecting an undergraduate to have a Nobel prize already! Once you extract the transferable skills you have gained so far, plus the physics-related skills you've learned at university, and your personal attributes, you'll probably find there's more to write about than you first thought.

    Finally, as you are looking for ideas for work experience...my California geography is not great, so this might be too far for you, but I know that the Lawrence Livermore National Lab offer internships to undergraduates at their National Ignition Facility and other positions; take a look here https://scholars.llnl.gov/ Also check out local companies to see if they have anything that interests you; it may not be a university research post but an R&D department could still be pretty cool!

    Best of luck!
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