In college, you have 8 semesters to gain credits, but only 3 summers to work out in the real world and get hands on experience. According to CBS Money Watch, real world experience can put you at the front of the line for future careers: “An intern’s foot in the door can be a giant step toward a real job post-college.” Real work experience is priceless when focusing on a certain career path.
Instead of spending numerous hours being a beach bum or taking the summer to “do nothing” you should invest a bit of energy into your future. Most College students that work in the summer will do internships (paid + unpaid), volunteer work, research, and summer courses. It’s never too late to start doing any of these.
Where to start? The internet and browsing online provides opportunities to find internships on websites like Craigslist, Jobseeker, and CareerBuilder. From December to March you should be on the hunt for a summer internship. Most companies will plan internships months prior to actually hiring one. Applying early ensures that you will not miss out on opportunities just because you were unaware of a deadline. Also, plan ahead to give yourself time to find a source of income, in case the work you find is unpaid. Now go into your Itunes and make a LONG playlist to ease your search.
Many employers and competitive companies tend to look for sophomore and junior internship applicants. That does not mean you should be carefree if you are a freshman. Your college year is no excuse for living an unproductive summer. No matter what age, field, or studies shoot for the more advanced internships. The “Big Dogs”! You must learn how to accept rejection. It is ideal to be accepted by an employer but being denied does not mean to give up, as there are many other options.
Go around your hometown area. Visit the local store fronts and get creative on how you can volunteer to help these businesses in exchange for work experience. Chances are local businesses could use your skill set if it’s applicable. Interested in a marketing career? You could visit your local grocery store with an idea of constructing marketing research for them, and produce advertisements by the end of the summer. The main advantage to working with local businesses is that you will use your skills in the related work field you are studying. You will not be fetching coffee for a magazine editor or taking the breakfast order every morning. By the end of the summer, you will have a much better idea if the work is for you, and you’ll have experience for future job interviews.