Every summer college students across the country snap up amazing internship opportunities and gain plenty of big city adventures in the process.
If they can afford it, that is.
It’s no secret that unpaid internships have been a hot topic of debate in recent months. Not every college student can afford to take the financial hit of working for free in an unknown city with plenty of living expenses. I know. I was one of them.
The good news is that even if you can’t afford the big city internship and are looking at a summer at home, there are plenty of ways you can make the summer worthwhile for your professional and personal development. Here’s a rundown of eleven things you can do:
Volunteer: Yes, you’ve probably heard it before, but volunteering is a great thing to add to your resume. It shows interest in your community and can provide you with additional skill sets. I spent a summer volunteering for a local art center. Most of the time I worked at the front desk greeting visitors, but I picked up basic office skills like working phone systems, something that came in handy in future internships. Plus, you never know if you’ll discover a new interest.
Job shadows: Job shadows are great way to get an inside scoop on a particular career path. Find a professional in your community or a nearby city that is willing to let you be a fly on the wall for a day. A good place to start is with your school’s career center or alumni office where they can help you find an alum happy to help. A job shadow will give you a perspective on what the day-to-day experience of a particular career looks like.
Set up informational interviews: Informational interviews are a good alternative to job shadows. An informational interview is similar to a job interview but focuses more on learning about the career itself. Use the opportunity to ask the individual about their daily duties, what path they took to land their job and any other important questions you might have about the field. While in-person meetings are ideal, informational interviews can also be done over the phone.
Find networking events: Attending networking events is a good way to meet new people, make connections and learn more about particular jobs or companies. Most cities or counties have networking events through their Chamber of Commerce or other city organizations. Larger cities have plenty of networking opportunities for young professionals. Even if you have to drive an hour to make it to an event, introducing yourself to the right person could be worthwhile.
Attend alumni events: Many universities have lunches, dinners or other events for alumni in various locations. See if your school has an event near you and ask if you can attend. You’ll be able to network with your future, fellow alums while getting a glimpse of what post-grad life is like. Plus, alums love talking to current students to hear what life as a student is like today.
Revamp your resume: Summer is the perfect time to craft a stellar resume. Update dates and descriptions of positions and add new ones. Make a few different versions to be used for different types of jobs and internships. In addition, look into different designs to try to find something that is clean, professional and unique.
Create a business card: Business cards aren’t just for those with jobs. Create a business card with your name, contact info and a headline that helps describe who you are and what you’re looking for. Example: “Jane Smith. Indiana University Senior & Communications Job Seeker.” Having business cards on hand is easier than having a stack of resumes with you. They are also the preferred method for exchanging information at networking events. Cards are relatively cheap to print at places like Vistaprint. You can also buy blank business cards at any office supply store to print yourself.
Research cities of interest: Not sure where you want to go after graduation? Make a list of cities that you’re curious about and spend time researching them online. Order visitor’s guides from visitor’s bureaus and investigate companies in the area that might be a good fit with your career goals and interests.
Revamp social media profiles: Clean up your social media accounts to be more professional and consider stepping up the privacy settings. Start following companies you are interested in and professional associations. Engage with professionals. Read and share industry articles. You should also set up profiles on important sites like LinkedIn.
Start a blog: Starting a professional blog is a good way to engage in the latest trends on an industry of interest. Discuss articles you have recently run across or your questions and observations about your field. It will not only require you to think critically about the industry, but will be a professional outlet to show others your thoughts and engagement. Make sure you include a page for your resume with a PDF download. I recommend WordPress for its ease of use and professional looking templates.
Freelancing: See if you can find freelance opportunities utilizing your skill set. Interested in social media management? See if a local business or non-profit wants help getting their social media program off the ground. Pitch articles to a local paper. Tutor kids in summer school. Get creative! The possibilities are endless.
Powered by Facebook Comments