Classes have been out for 1 week, you have already made your way through the first 3 seasons of Mad Men, and your butt has made a very permanent dent on the couch. I think it might be time to get up and do something. Here are a few things you can do to make the most of your summer.
This is clearly the preferred and obvious way to spend your summer. Internships provide you with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and practice the skills you learned in the classroom. These experiences are not just resume builders (although they do take up a lot of white space), they help you decide what your interests are and what you want to do. You might think that you want to work in finance, but then after a summer of interning in corporate finance you find out it is not for you.
Despite what you might have heard, it is not too late to get an internship. Continue to check out Experience for new job postings and visit Indeed.com, Internships.com and other job search engines to keep track of new opportunities. Also, follow @FairfieldCPC – we will continue to retweet jobs and internships throughout the summer. Virtual internship are also a great option, check out our blog post on virtual internships to learn more (see Virtual Internship blog post).
If the internship route was not in the cards, do not fret! There are plenty of other ways for you to gain valuable experience. Being a volunteer provides you with an opporuntity to give back to the community and gain real world experience. If it’s an option, be strategic about what volunteer opportunities you take on and try to tie it into your career interest. Are you a marketing major? Maybe a local non-profit needs help with community outreach and engagement via social media! Are you interested in writing? Ask to start a blog for your local soup kitchen. Really the options are endless.
There are a bunch of different ways for you to find out about volunteer opportunities – check out Volunteersquare.com and other sites that aggregate opportunities. Campus Ministry might also know of some places that need volunteers during the summer. Ask around, you will find something!
Participating in research is another great way to spend your summer. There are many Research summer programs in various fields – economics, engineering, science, mathematics, and even business. Even if you do not want to work in academia after college, the skills you gain through research – gathering and synthesizing data – can be used in any career. Like traditional internships, some research programs recruit students in the spring to join their team. But it is not too late to reach out to a local University to see if they need any extra hands. It cannot hurt to ask!
Summer is also a great time for you earn some CASH. There is nothing wrong with having a plain old summer job. The reality of our world is that college and life is expensive!
Another smart way to spend your summer is building your personal brand and being creative. Are you an inspiring writer? Spending you summer creating a blog, potential employers will check it out. Do you plan on being a computer programmer after graduation? Write some code! Are you interested in marketing or social media? Start a tumblr focused on something you are interested in. You would be surprised how important it is for you to have some tangible evidence that you are innovative creative, and different (especially if you plan on entering a creative field or plan on working for a creative company). Moral of the story, one way to set yourself a part from your peers is to follow your interests and be creative.
The summer is a great time for you to network! Networking comes in many forms – but one of our favorite ways is through Informational Interviewing (see Networking blog post). An informational interview is a key networking tool during the job search process. Keep in mind, an informational interview is not a job interview. Rather, it’s an interview with an individual working in a career you would like to learn more about. You can set up informational interviews with anyone in your network – your network consists of family, friends, coaches, teachers, and Fairfield Alumni. Using LinkedIn to find connections is a great place to start (see LinkedIn blog … again!).
Either way, get off the couch and do something this summer… You will not regret it!
Assistant Director, Career Planning Center