Career tips for making the most of your FIRST experience

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Experts from long-time FIRST-supporting companies BAE Systems, BOSCH, and Rockwell Automation joined FIRST alum Nikki Stout for a conversation on how FIRST experience sets participants up for success.

The most important take-aways from the panel for participants and alumni were:

  • The need to put – and keep – FIRST experience on your resume
  • Your time on a team can help you understand what you like to do, and how to forge your career path
  • FIRST gives you experience that industry values

Jay Flores, Global STEM Ambassador at Rockwell Automation wants to make sure that FIRST participants keep their FIRST experience on their resumes.

“As you grow within your career, you’re going to eventually move things around on your resume. When we’re looking at [hiring] students, the only thing better than a FIRST alum is a FIRST alum that’s still mentoring and volunteering, because then you’re showing that you can take on that leadership role and lead with influence.”

Susan Tippy, BOSCH Quality Manager, notes that your FIRST experience isn’t just about your technical skills:

“Highlighting your FIRST accomplishments helps to show the breadth of your experience—shows you as a more well-rounded person.”  Tippy encourages FIRST alumni to “pick out some key things that translate to the business that you are applying for.”

Samantha Ruppert, Program Manager at BAE Systems, recommended that teams engage with their sponsors today and in the future for career advice and opportunities. She encourages FIRST participants to use the time that they’re on a team wisely:

“Figure out what you do and don’t like and talk to people in all different types of careers. A lot of the mentors or people that you’ll work with throughout your time in FIRST teams will have various experiences. Take an opportunity to talk to those people, hear what they do or don’t like. Take advantage of those connections to help you get into some internships when you are in school or when you’re first coming out of school.”

For more career tips from these experts, watch a recording from the webinar below.