School’s out for summer!! Well, almost. It’s getting that time for sun, boating, a farmers tan (or if you have skin like mine, SPF80 every few hours to avoid turning into a tomato all summer), and catch up time with friends. Have you thought about some other things that summer could be used for to catch up on? Like, oh say for example, catching up/getting a head start on your career?! Summer break is a great time to utilize to work on your career development process. I’m going to give you 3 things to add to your summer to-do/bucket list that should get you ahead of the game for the next school year!
1. Do the things you didn’t have time to do during Fall and Spring semester: work on your resume, do some informational interviews, and research what you can do with your major and potential careers you would be interested in.
This is a perfect time to take your computer or tablet or iPad or hard copy of your resume outside with you while you soak up the beautiful weather and work on the wording of the bullet points for your experiences or mess around with the format and organization so it is just the way you like it. Also take the time to look up some of the careers and companies you have been wanting to know more about. Summer is also a great time to do some information interviews with people in the business world who may be in the career position you are thinking about or work for the company you may want to work for after college. Informational interviews are a great way to learn more about job positions and the job market, as well as, NETWORKING!! By doing these informational interviews, you are starting to get your name and face out there for others to remember, which comes in great help when you are searching and applying for internships or jobs.
Summer is a great time to volunteer or set up some job shadowing opportunities in place just a few of the hours you would have been doing homework, attending class, or going to meetings. Not only are volunteering and job shadowing great resume boosters to help set you apart from other potential candidates for internships or jobs, but they can give you that first had experience for you to use to your advantage in as little or as much time as you want/have to commit. Volunteering can give you some of the basic skills and experiences that most employers look for: communication skills, working in teams, working individually, getting tasks done in a set time frame. Not to mention, volunteering is good for your health, look it up! Job shadowing also is something you can try out during the summer to help you decide if the career path you are thinking is something you actually want to do and interests you. Sometimes job shadowing can give you the realization that maybe that isn’t the path for you and it is time to go back to my above paragraph on exploring different career paths. Or job shadowing can make you realize that the position in which you are shadowing is exactly what you want to do. In that case, you now have experience and the start of your networking in that specific field to help you down the road.
Just because you aren’t getting credit for your summer job or internship doesn’t mean you have to treat it like spoiled milk! Use it to your advantage. Take a look back at a blog written by Kristin Underwood on “Your Part-Time Job Matters!” to realize all the benefits you are most likely already getting from your summer job. If you have been at the same summer job for a while or even if you haven’t, ask for a different set of responsibilities that might apply better to your degree/potential career: training in new employees, being responsible for the cash drawer, helping to plan the summer employee appreciation gathering, attend or lead a meeting. The same goes for your summer internship. If you perhaps aren’t doing what you thought you would, just ask for the opportunity to do some of the things I just mentioned. You won’t know if you don’t ask!
So in between the fun and the sun (or during it) don’t forget that you can be using this summer break to work on the career related things you haven’t had the chance to work on yet, while still being able to translate the things you are already doing to launch your career! And as always, your Career Development Center is to here to help.
-Britani Felten, Graduate Assistant, Career Development Center