While the words "Summer Break" are usually associated with lying by the pool, exotic vacations, mountainous road trips and constant relaxation, I suggest spending the summer a little bit differently if you want to land a role with a big company someday. Trust me, as a college student, I understand the draw to have a summer of fun while in your young 20's, but I decided to weigh the options of my future career or my fleeting spontaneity, and I urge you to do the same.
Whether it's the summer after your freshman year or the first few weeks post-graduation, it's not too early to start working on making your professional resume stand out to employers. I have researched and talked with many recent grads and current students to narrow down the best 4 ways you can use the summer to your advantage. These are the top responses….
Get an internship.
Landing a summer internship is one of the best ways you can use your summer break to help advance your career. Having some actual work experience in your industry under your belt will place you miles high above your peers. Most internships offer hands-on learning and are eager to draw out your strengths and hone in on your weaknesses to make you your best. Live Career (see the full story, left) wrote that "you may also discover gaps between your classroom learning and what you need to know in the real world and can strategize how you will fill those gaps."
Build a Stellar LinkedIn Profile.
Creating a LinkedIn profile is a great way to get your name out there and start making real connections with professionals in your industry. LinkedIn allows you to showcase your strengths, professional achievements, and engage with informational content. Connect with those business professionals and using the job-seeker tool to actively look and apply for jobs will prove to be a useful way of spending the summer.
Research and locate a non-profit organization in the industry that interests you and get involved. The word "volunteering" is at times seen as a negative word when relating it to a career when it is actually quite the opposite. Forbes states that "Nonprofits have spent a lot of time developing volunteer opportunities that would be beneficial to this demographic and make their organization more attractive."
Take a summer class, become a pro in Excel, or become Google Analytics certified (it's free)! Use your long days to educate yourself and become more qualified for the next step in your career. To employers, educating yourself on your own free time (outside of the classroom or normal school year) shows you are highly motivated and are eager to make yourself the best candidate for your dream job.
"It's never too early to get a start on your career! Spending some time during the summer break on one of these tasks will only benefit you in the long run."
by Katie Womble