The holiday season calls for gift giving, relaxation, and joy. . . but what do you do with the other 3+ weeks of winter break? Bettering your resume can really be rather simple with all that free time. Not really sure how you can improve your resume? Well here are 7 ideas that you should consider:
The holiday season is all about giving, so you should think about giving back to the community this winter break. You can volunteer at soup kitchens, churches, or other centers in your area. Volunteering can be both personally rewarding and beneficial to your resume. You’ll meet great people, do good for your community, and build your resume all at the same time!
Wondering if you should take that unpaid internship? Is it really going to strengthen your resume or are they just using for free labor? These are important questions to weigh, especially after taking a look at these shocking statistics in this infographic from OnlineCollegeCourses.com. What do you think?
86% of students will have an internship during college—and 69% will complete two or more. Whether you’re still on the search for your first position or already have some under your belt, it’s important to know how you can make the most of an internship. The following advice will make sure that you get the most out of your position.
- Have a positive attitude throughout your internship. Being enthusiastic about every task you’re assigned—even if it’s making copies or filing—will make a great impression on your employers. Showing that you can approach menial tasks with a good attitude may lead to you being assigned more complex and interesting projects.
Even though it’s still early in the summer, it’s never too early to start thinking about what you can gain from your internship this summer. Clearly, you’ll gain knowledge and experience from your position, whether it’s making copies and getting coffee or having a hands-on role in a project. While you’re in the office, you can continually learn by observing and should be looking for opportunities to network. Your summer internship is going to look great on your resume, but that’s not all it can do for you. Getting a great recommendation is an important opportunity you will definitely want to take advantage of. So how can you make sure to get a quality letter of recommendation?
- Make a good impression. Though this may seem obvious, you can’t get a great recommendation if you didn’t do a great job during your time there. Besides being motivated and doing the best work you can, it’s also important to remember the little things that create a professional image. Be punctual and don’t consistently leave early. Don’t waste your employer’s time by making personal calls or checking social media sites during work hours.
- Think carefully about who you’re going to ask. Don’t send out a mass email to every employee you shook hands with. Consider asking the people you worked most closely with or directly under, and ask on an individual basis. They want to feel that their time is being well used and their opinion matters.
- Talk to your manager and coworkers about your future. Many internships turn into job offers, so you want to be sure that your employer knows where see you your career heading. Additionally, these people are great resources for professional advice. Asking about their own experiences will give you great perspective and help improve your chances of a great recommendation.
- Give the person you ask a variety of options to improve your chances of getting a “yes”. Whether it’s LinkedIn, a letter, or agreeing to being listed as a reference on future applications, giving options makes it easier to find a way that is convenient for them and useful for you.
- Make sure to always, always say thank you. Show that you appreciate their time and effort. And if they say no? Don’t be too disappointed and of course still be courteous. You don’t want to try to force someone into being one of your references—they’re less likely to give a positive response—and they might just not have the time.
- Don’t ask for a recommendation at the last minute. With this being said, don’t ask for one too soon either—they need to see your quality work before being able to recommend you! However, asking at the very end of your internship may make your manager feel too crunched for time, and this might result in hearing a “no.”
- Don’t just casually ask for a letter of recommendation in passing. A planned conversation or carefully written email is a better course of action. When you ask, be prepared. Include materials, like your resume, that they will need to write the recommendation along with specific things you would like mention, such as projects you worked in or what skills you improved. This makes the writer’s job easier and guarantees you’ll get the perfect recommendation.
As an intern, it’s important to maintain a professional edge on social media. Having social network profiles on the internet can make you somewhat exposed to employers, whether present or potential. Because of this, you should always present yourself properly on the internet. Utilizing various social media sources can help you maintain an internship, improve as an intern, create connections, and make yourself known to companies and potential employers.
As summer approaches, it’s almost time for internships to start. No matter what field you’re working in, it’s important to know that internships are the perfect opportunity to learning more about a job you may want someday. Internships offer insight to what you may (or may not) want to do for the rest of your life.
Your first internship is a huge professional learning experience. In order to prepare for an internship, here are a few pointers to make sure you do the best possible job!
Last summer, 48.8% of Americans aged 16-24 were employed in July—that’s a 10.4% decrease from 5 years ago and a 14.5% decrease from 10 years ago. In fact, 48.8% is the lowest July youth employment rate since 1948. The economy has no doubt made it more difficult for college students to find summer employment. Many businesses are looking for longer commitment than just the summer months. Yet with the rising cost of college (which is 6 times more expensive now than in 1981), it’s more important than ever to be able to earn an income during the summer.
This forces many students to decide between a paid job that doesn’t provide relevant experience and an unpaid internship that can provide invaluable experience. Don’t give up—you can find ways to get the best of both worlds. With a part-time unpaid internship, you still have time to make some extra cash with another job. Having trouble finding an opening that works with your schedule and a company that is willing to hire you for just the summer? Consider positions with off-hours or that are only available in the summer, like landscaping, working at a pool or water park, babysitting, or a camp counselor.
If you haven’t been able to land an internship, don’t write off this summer as adding nothing to your resume. Customer service and being able to work on a time are essential parts of many careers—and skills that you can learn through almost any retail job. Do you know what field you want to go into? Look for a related position, even if it’s not on the corporate side. For example, if you wish you were interning at a fashion magazine, look for a part-time job at a stylish store. It will give you real world experience that you can talk about in future interviews, as well as give you a paycheck. Good luck changing the statistics and turning this summer into a productive and profitable experience!
I read an article this morning by Charles Wheelan entitled “10 Things Your Commencement Speaker Won’t Tell You.” As a somewhat-recent-grad, I found a lot of helpful takeaways (and some bordering on absurd) in this piece, and it inspired me to reflect on the “real-world” knowledge I’ve gained. Here are 5 more things you may not hear at commencement, but are useful nonetheless, inspired by Mr. Wheelan.
1. Your money was well spent.
Dismal statistics concerning college grads are all over the news these days, however, a degree DOES pay off in terms of employment. The unempoloyment rate for college grads is far lower than those without degrees, sparking this article in the Atlantic, “What’s More Expensive Than College? Not Going to College.” You may have racked up some debt paying for your education, but education is one of the wisest investments you’ve made in your life.
Recently, I’ve noticed articles popping up detailing how parents are getting involved with their grad’s job search. In college, there is a lot of talk of graduating and entering the “real world,” however, it seems there is a new reality emerging, one where parents continue to, well, parent, even through adulthood. On particularly great article, “How Parents Can Help Their Kids Get A Job After College” by Susan Adams, chronicles some overbearing parent horror stories and some great advice for parents. But what about the students? What can you do?
If your parents are clawing to get involved in your job search, chances they are very supportive of you and believe in the skills and work ethic you’d bring to any workplace. This is a great thing! This is your job search – it’s up to you to help channel that energy into the appropriate amount of parental involvement. By managing your parents and their expectations and making the most of their help, while conducting your own job search, you can skip past the overbearing parts and get the end result everyone is looking for with the help of mom and dad.
Although the education you receive is a central part of why anyone goes to college, finding and securing a job is also a primary motivation. However, if graduation is coming up and you’re still looking for the right fit, don’t panic—there are plenty of resources available to you.
Networking is key to a successful job search. Did you have an internship or summer job during your college years? Reach out to those contacts and see if they’re hiring—or know someone who is. Were you involved in an academic club or greek letter organization? Contact alumni and inquire about openings at their company. It can’t hurt to ask, it will help strengthen your connection even if they can’t help you right now, and they’re more than likely to want to help you. Before you begin networking, be sure to update your LinkedIn profile.