How to Clinch Leadership Positions in College
Leadership positions in college are not elusive by any means. In fact, every organization I have been a part of in college so far has offered leadership opportunities each semester. With students constantly studying abroad, switching majors, dropping clubs, and graduating, there is almost always an opening for a leadership position at the start of each semester. As someone who has held four leadership positions in their first two years of college, I have some advice on how to clinch those leadership positions (even the ones that are traditionally given to upperclassmen).
Join clubs/organizations you are passionate about.
If you are passionate about the organization you are a part of, it will show in your application for a leadership position. Passion is everything. If you enjoy participating in your organization and are putting in the time and effort to be as involved as you can be, the current leaders of the organization will take note and will often encourage you to apply for new leadership positions. Make sure to have a good attitude and get as much out of the organization as possible when you attend meetings.
This is closely related to passion. When you are passionate about something, you are more likely to put in effort. Attending all the meetings and taking time in and out of the meetings to do any work required or further your knowledge is a great way to show off your leadership qualities. This portion may take time as you often have to show at least a semester of commitment to be considered for a leadership position. If you want a leadership position, make sure you are building a strong case for yourself by demonstrating how you are reliable and committed to the organization now and will be reliable and committed in your future position as well.
Networking is often overlooked, but it is extremely important. If you are at meetings for your organization, it never hurts to get to know the current leaders and ask them about their journey to their current positions. I find networking especially helpful when you are trying to get a leadership position that may be a bit above your current credentials or is normally reserved for older students. When the current leaders know you and like you, they are more likely to look at your application favorably and recommend you for certain higher level positions.
Don’t be afraid to apply for a leadership position. College is competitive and certain positions may seem unattainable but I have clinched leadership positions I never thought I would get. If you really want the position, apply for it! Show the people reading your application why you want this position so badly, why you believe you are qualified for it, and how you would make your organization better if you were a leader of it. Whether you get the position or not, you have demonstrated bravery and the desire to be a leader, which is ultimately what gets your foot in the door.
I implement these four tips for every leadership position I apply for and I have found that clinching a leadership position is very much a marathon and not a sprint. It’s about taking the time to find organizations you are passionate about and willing to commit to. It’s about putting in the effort to build relationships with the leaders of your organization and being open to learning from them. Last but not least, it’s about not being afraid to fail. You will never get a leadership position if you never apply!
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