That’s a wrap, folks! As another school year comes to a close, college students all over the U.S. are looking forward to the fact that they have a solid two months of no homework. However, for some students, the thought of having to find that perfect “real world” job soon weighs just heavy enough to dampen their fun summer plans. Some friends may go off to internships (we all know the paid ones are the best ones), and some friends may even have the gumption to take a few summer classes. For anyone who is a little unsure of what their future holds, the last few summers of college can be a stressful time. So what can you do, with no official plans for summer, to help you snag that perfect first position? Let me outline a few unofficial skill boosting, and perhaps slightly fun, activities to really help you pack a punch this summer.
TRAVEL. There is nothing else in life that teaches you about yourself and the world around you simultaneously. If you haven’t already read my other blog “5 Things you Learn When you Travel”, pause and go read that first. To an employer, traveling shows that you are open to new cultures and ideas. As most of us know, traveling doesn’t always go as expected. This shows that you are willing to be flexible when things go awry, and most importantly, fervent about experiencing life.
VOLUNTEER. This is one idea that gets extremely overstated and vastly under-appreciated. There are endless possibilities when it comes to choosing the volunteer experience that suits you best. Becoming socially responsible for extracurricular activities proves to employers that you are willing to take on more than what’s solely designated to you. Look for opportunities that have a time commitment you can uphold. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Search for openings with organizations that align with your field of study. Lastly, make volunteering something that is fun; try making the commitment with a friend or group of friends.
STUDY. You’re probably thinking the only thing less appealing than studying for school is studying on your own free will. Do a little self-examination of your strong professional characteristics and your areas of opportunity. Are you familiar with current events of your field? Do you know the ins and outs of an Excel spreadsheet? Would taking the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT be beneficial for your future endeavors? Are you bilingual? Are there any certificates you can obtain to prove your efforts? Finding a personal project to work on while you’ve got the time could be the one thing that separates you from your competition. After college, learning isn’t handed to you by your professors but is something you have to continuously chase on your own accord.
NETWORK. Perhaps this is the best one yet! Get out there and be social. I don’t mean going out every night with your best friends. I’m talking about getting comfortable with presenting yourself to complete strangers. You never know who you will meet and where the connection might take you. I recommend researching young professional events going on in the community. From happy hours, to coffee meetings, concerts, discussion panels, and focus groups, there are countless events that might get you connected to just the right person. You can’t get references and referrals from people you don’t know! Want to know the trick to good networking? Be as authentic as possible and establish value in the relationships you create.
It doesn’t always take a grand idea or action to help you obtain your dream job; in fact, it’s just the opposite. The everyday actions you take to invest in yourself will make others want to invest in you. If you’re a broke college student this summer, then I hope this simple quote by actor Hal Sparks resonates just as loudly with you as it did me; “It is better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.”
Breanna Gibson joined Aureus Medical Group in June 2015 as a Recruiter for the Laboratory Division, and became a part of the Student Outreach Team in the Rehab Therapy Division soon after. In her free time, Breanna enjoys yoga, reading, and trying out new recipes for her fiancé, Tony. She loves to travel, especially back home to Texas to visit her family. Breanna loves taking her two doggies, Sunny and Jake, on walks and to the dog parks!