How college life enhanced my resume

It's a very competitive employment market that today's university graduates enter. Anything that can give them the edge is helpful, including practical and interpersonal skills honed at college.

"Attending college definitely opened doors and helped set me up for life," says Jen Shephard, a paediatric mental health social worker who lived at Duval College from 2010-2012. "The friendships I formed have shaped me hugely and I don't think I would have been nearly so successful had it not been for my college experiences and the connections I made. These networks have been invaluable personally and professionally."

Duval's formal college mentoring program gave Jen training in resume writing, public speaking, even interview etiquette during her first year. "Those kinds of business administration skills are very helpful in giving you a competitive advantage in the workplace," says Jen, who is now a member of Duval's Senior Common Room, which connects junior students with academics and community professionals. "However, I also learnt important negotiation skills around alcohol and ethical choices, and this has given me strong foundations for decision-making since college."

Those who take on leadership roles within UNE's colleges not only have the opportunity to complete mental health and physical first-aid courses and to learn about the Responsible Service of Alcohol; their roles also enable them to develop communications, project management and mentoring skills.

"When you become a resident fellow at one of UNE's colleges, you do a lot of personality testing, so you get to know your strengths and weaknesses," said Gwen Shumack, a former Earle Page College resident who now works as a psychologist with the UNE's Student Counselling and Psychological Service (CAPS). "A critical component of being a leader is developing team skills - learning how to collaborate, consider your strengths and weaknesses, and put personal differences aside to work cohesively. Those skills are applicable to many roles in the workforce, and being a good team player is very attractive to employers."

Former UNE college residents commonly boast improved self-confidence and extensive professional networks that have given them traction in their careers. There are considerable social benefits, too. "Going to weddings is like a college reunion," Jen says. "It's crazy how many people from college marry each other. If you don't find friends for life, then you certainly find partners for life at college."