Make Your Summer Count on Your Career Path

Student Summer Series, part 1

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What will you do with your summer? Counsel at a camp? Work a summer job? Sleep?

Maybe you haven’t thought about the fact that your college years are about more than just class work. They are. The choices you make put you on a path. Where is that path taking you?

What are your career goals?

First, consider where you want to end up in your career. Then take some time to determine the steps that will take you there. Every choice you make adds to—or detracts from—your resume.

How can you work toward your goals during the summer?

Get a summer job.

Next, you want to evaluate what jobs or experiences will contribute to your career path. Talk to professors, advisors or Career Services staff to see what options you have. Maybe you have contacts in your church at home as well. Your contacts won’t know your needs until you ask, and you might be surprised what options you find.

If you choose to do something outside of your career path for a summer job, remember that you can learn skills in those positions that will transfer into future positions. Skills such as communication, leadership, ethics and many others are useful in any career.

Build mentor relationships.

Find a professional mentor and build a relationship with him or her. This is great practice at professional relationship-building and networking—and you can do it all year long! A mentor can take his or her own experience and help you outline a pathway to meet your career goals. They also may know of positions for which you are a great fit!

Don’t just sit there!

Unless all the doors are closed or some unforeseen event prevents you from getting a summer job, do everything you can to line something up. Job applicants who have any type of experience are more likely to be chosen for higher level positions than those who have no experience.

Remember … Everything you do adds to your resume. Don’t waste your summers!