For all of us now, summer is officially here. But summer isn’t just about going home (are you tired of home already?). It isn’t about hitting the beach or the old haunts. Summer break is also a great time to execute the career boosters that will set you for life after graduation.
To help you decide how you should spend the career building portion of your summer break, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:
What is one thing you would advise college students and recent grads to do this summer to set themselves up for professional success?
Take a look at these valuable summer career boosters. Then, once you’re back from the beach, put the advice to work for you.
Get it out of your system. Traveling will give you amazing stories to share in your interviews and open up your mind to new ideas. Additionally, travel will stretch your boundaries and take you out of your comfort zone, making you a better person. Travel now while you still can — you won’t regret it.
Don’t wait for someone to hire you to start making money. Start a side hustle and start building business skills. You could become an Amazon Prime seller, start a YouTube channel or launch a blog. There are various resources online on how to do this well. Check them out, and then start your business journey.
80 percent of opportunities come from networking. So building your network should be at the top of your list this summer. Find people in the industry that you want to work in (or grow in). Reach out to them. Meet for lunch, shadow them, or volunteer to support them on a project. One person at a time, build your network.
Don’t have a personal website? Start there. Have a website but not a blog? Start writing. Already do all that? Launch a new site or feature that shows off your talents. For designers, this could be a portfolio of your work. For marketers, this could be case studies on your favorite tactics. Need a career booster? Do something fun and share it with the world.
Think about what you want your professional future to look like. Write down what skills you need to develop to be successful in that profession. Find an internship, class, online course or project that you can work on to hone one or more of those skills, and then repeat until you’re confident and proficient in that skill.
Summer is for relaxing and engaging in hobbies. If you’re looking to continue improving your prospects as both a professional and a well-rounded human being, take some time this summer to read a few books. It doesn’t matter if it’s genre fiction, self-help, philosophy or a cookbook; written knowledge will make a big difference.
There is no better way to learn than to shadow someone who has already achieved what you’ve always dreamed of doing. And sumer is the best time to do it. It’s the little things that you don’t think about that could make all of the difference: How they talk, how they walk and what they do in their free time. Trade your time. Learn new skills.
The inboxes of recruiters get flooded with applications. So be different! Be a problem solver. Identify potential issues facing the company. Then send the hiring manager a brief PowerPoint on your perception of the challenge, along with how you would help them solve it. This is significantly more effective in securing an interview.
School is structured: You’re given assignments with instructions on how to complete them, and a good idea of how they’ll be graded. Success in the “real world” is chaotic and completely unstructured. So doing something creative this summer that gets you comfortable with creating your own assignments is a great career booster.
Nothing makes me crazier than “let me pick your brain.” That phrase tends to show a lack of focus and a desire to just get all the answers. Think about why you want to talk to specific people. Do you want to hear about their path? Their experience with a certain company? Show that you value their time — which will make them value yours.
Pick a technical skill to learn. Get really good at it. Programming, data science and Excel are a few examples. Pairing a technical skill with a non-technical degree can be the best way to stand out to employers. After all, small businesses need people who can execute. Theory is nice, but the real world requires implementation.
Learn how to sell! I am successful in business because I can sell. Many people don’t know how to sell or are scared to sell. Selling is an art form and is the root of all business. Summer is a great time to get out of your comfort zone and find a sales job. Don’t worry about how much you get paid: Focus on learning to sell. It will pay off!
Not a fan of public speaking? Take a speaking course. Not great at networking? Go get some face-to-face and online practice. Unless you learn to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, fear is going to hold you back when you enter the professional world. Summer is the perfect time to overcome your fears.
Spend your summer volunteering with an organization or a cause close to you, or about which you are passionate. It will teach you leadership skills, among other skills, and help you gain confidence. Plus, when you are passionate about something, you want to do a better job and learn about yourself along the way.
Start working on managing your finances, as soon you’ll probably be doing that solo for the first time. Get a budget set up for yourself and start to look for ways that your upcoming expenses can be reduced. Also, look for ways to close the gap between anticipated expenses and income. Maybe a side gig is in your future?
Whether you want to launch an idea, spark a movement or simply get people talking about what you do, you have one shot
at delivering your message in a way that matters. Let’s make sure you do it right.