The Savvy Student’s Summer Break Checklist
What are your plans for the summer break? After a busy semester of studying, presentations, and exams, you have hopefully scheduled some well-deserved rest and relaxation! Unless you have an internship lined up for the summer, you probably haven’t planned to give much thought to your career over the break, but there are several small, quick items you could put on your summer checklist that can have a big impact. Consider the following:
Reconnect with friends
Did you know that every single person with whom you come into contact has the potential to help you when it comes to securing an internship or full time job? This is the power of networking!
When we think of networking, we often think of a stuffy, schmoozey, uncomfortable experience, but it is truly as simple as getting connected and staying connected with people. As you reconnect with your friends from high school and you’re all catching up on your college experiences, you’ll likely share with one another a bit about your major and/or your career plans. If you happen to mention to a friend that you’re really hoping to secure a marketing internship next summer and he/she hears of something in a few months, it’s likely that your friend will tell you about the opportunity. Congratulations! Your network has worked for you! As you connect with anyone interning or working in a field of interest to you, take note – he/she could be a valuable addition to your professional network!
When we hear the word ‘interview,’ we tend to feel anxious, imagining ourselves in the hot seat with a job on the line.
Informational interviews are not like this at all; they give you the opportunity to ask someone doing something in a field that interests you about his job, how he got there, his educational background, career path, and advice for you should you pursue that field yourself. Informational interviews are low pressure because there is no job or internship to be obtained – it’s all about information-gathering for you. That being said, you should treat such an experience with professionalism as the contact you make could become a key person in your network and connect you with others, inform you of internships, and even make you aware of job opportunities in the future.
As you reconnect with family and friends over the summer, you may learn that someone you’ve known all along is actually working in a field that interests you. This contact could be an excellent person to informational interview, but why not take it a step further and ask for the opportunity to job shadow for a few hours or a few days? Spending some time in the environment, learning the ins and outs of a particular role and how it impacts the overall organization, can really illustrate all you have learned about a career through reading, research, and conversation. Additionally, the people with whom you connect can be fantastic additions to your professional network!
More of a hands-on type? Take advantage of volunteer opportunities! Did you know you could put your coursework to good use by volunteering with a nonprofit organization? Seek out a volunteer experience that works with your availability this summer – a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, or all summer – and get some experience that will look great on your resume!
Make some money
Really need to save up some cash this summer? As you look for a summer job, try to find one that has some connection to your career goals. Already have a summer job lined up? Look for opportunities to gain new experiences that will look great on your resume. Things that always look good on a resume are leadership, teamwork, and examples in which you took the initiative for the good of the organization.
Build a (professional) online presence
Summer heat getting to you? Grab a glass of lemonade, prop up your feet in the air conditioning, and take a close look at your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media profiles. Look at it through this lens: If you were applying for a job or internship, and an employer found your profile, would she A) Be impressed, B) Be neutral, or C) Be uncomfortable. A and B are both OK. C is not.
Maybe you’re not currently looking for a job or internship, but begin the cleanup process now and keep this in mind in the months and years to come. Up your privacy settings, ensure your profile/cover photos (and anything else that is public) are appropriate for an employer’s eyes, and check your settings for wall posts and tags. And, if you haven’t already done so, create a LinkedIn account and start connecting with all of the great people you met this summer!