"All I need to do today is enjoy this view and send a couple emails. It doesn't get better than this."
June 9, 2015
There are few things better than summer break. Hot weather, great food, concerts, and a chance to marathon watch every episode of Parks and Recreation on Netflix. While you’re kicking back this summer take the time to be intentional, and sow seeds into your future career by expanding your network. With a little strategic thinking, you could have more than a couple job opportunities waiting for you come graduation.
Live Your Life, and Go Have Fun
There’s no reason to curb your good time this summer. Enjoy every minute of the things you’d typically do over the summer. As you’re having a good time, be aware of opportunities to network. While you’re standing in line at the coffee shop, strike up a conversation with someone in line. If you’re at a concert get to know the people around you. Networking is all about getting to know people. Be intentional by introducing yourself to an entire new group of people. They could further your career, or simply become lifelong friends. Or they could simply be someone you met sometime and nothing more.
It’s important for you to also utilize the advantages of being home for break. Don’t be afraid to tap into extended family connections. Any connection can lead to an incredible career, don’t waste any opportunity.
Ashley at Cardinal Health offered this great insight, “If you have family friends that work within an industry you are interested in, you can ask them to pass your resume along to the appropriate recruiters or hiring managers.”
Maximize Your Current Internship/Job
Whether you have an internship or a summer job at the snow cone shop, work hard. Bloom where you’re planted. Hard work rarely goes unnoticed, especially if your performance is consistent. You may not be looking to own the snow cone shop, but you never know when a potential employer will bring their family in for a treat. Make sure you bring your ‘A’ game every day whether in a high pressure internship, or in a seemingly dead end summer gig.
The baseball legend Joe DiMaggio was once asked by a reporter why he played each and every game so hard. Joe's reply, "There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first time, I owe him my best."
You never know who’s watching you. So make every effort to always do your best and work hard.
LinkedIn may be your new best friend this summer. It’s designed to build your professional network.
Emily from Praxair gave her thoughts on LinkedIn, “LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool that anyone looking for a job should use. Think of LinkedIn as a kind of Facebook but for the professional aspect of your life instead of the personal one. If you are brand new to LinkedIn, the first thing you will need to do will be to create a profile. Upload a professional picture and an updated copy of your resume and fill in any gaps with your experience, skills and education.
Once you have your own profile complete you can begin to reach out and network with people and companies you are interested in. I would suggest you begin networking with people you have something in common with – for example, past coworkers or alumni of the same school. It is much easier to get someone to connect with you and (and you’ll be more comfortable to ask for an informational interview) if you have a common interest or connection.
Networking is a critical part of getting a job in today’s market.”
Take the time to update your profile, keep it professional, and share interesting content which is relevant to your desired career field. When used properly LinkedIn can revolutionize the way you advance in your career.
If Helpful, Create a Portfolio
It’s likely your next job would love to see a portfolio of sorts during the interview process. Make creating a portfolio a summer long project. You may have done some work previously, or are currently interning in a prime spot for portfolio work. Regardless of where you find yourself, if a portfolio will help further your career put together a string of your work to demonstrate your capabilities.
Then, and this is key, send it out to individuals who would pass it along. The broad LinkedIn network you’ve created, the woman you met at the coffee shop, and the family friend in your industry should all receive a copy at the end of the summer. This is an excellent way to demonstrate just how serious you are about your next step. What’s the worst that could happen? They ignore your portfolio or throw it away? But if they don’t…the possibilities are endless.
Any break is exactly that, a break. But don’t let your break be wasted. Maximize every opportunity you have, and jump start your career by networking as much as possible.