With the arrival of warmer weather, many start thinking about picnics, days on the beach, and backyard barbecues, but not everyone! Over the past few weeks, I have had many conversations with UMUC students about how they can get an internship or other kinds of experience to strengthen their resumes this summer. Unfortunately, this late in the year, summer internships have mostly been filled (although you might find some on CareerQuest, Internships.com or Indeed), but there are still many other things you can do to make the most of this time of the year.
Consider these options:
- Join a professional organization. This is a great way to grow your network and meet fellow professionals in your target career field. If you don’t know the professional association for your career field, check out the Department of Labor’s Professional Association database.
- Work towards getting a certification. Many career fields offer a variety of certifications, and obtaining these is a wonderful way to verify that you are truly a knowledgeable professional in the work that you do. Certifications take time and can be expensive to acquire; however, depending on your field, they are often highly sought after by employers and can be a great way to stand out from the competition. This resource can help you identify the professional certifications in your career field.
- Nonprofit organizations need help at all times of the year, and, if related to your target career, these experiences can go on your resume. Use sites like Volunteer Match or Idealist to identify volunteer opportunities located near you. Don’t have a lot of spare time? Consider “Microvolunteering” which are typically work-from-home opportunities that can take as little as five minutes. Check out these sites to learn more: Help from Home or Skills for Change.
- Build your portfolio. If you haven’t started this already, summer is a great time to go through all of the documents that you have acquired throughout your career that you may want to use for your professional portfolio. This may include work samples, letters of recommendation, evaluations, awards, etc. Many employers like seeing these sorts of artifacts during a job interview, so you can bring them with you in a small binder or padfolio. Also consider scanning them and posting them in your LinkedIn
- Get ready for fall. If you don’t do any of the items that I previously mentioned, then consider this: many employers begin recruiting for their summer internships the previous fall. So if you want to get an internship for the summer 2017, you should start looking for these opportunities this fall. If you haven’t done so already, use this summer to write/polish your resume and identify the organizations you want to target over the next academic year.
Summer is definitely a great time to relax and recharge, but if you have downtime, use some of it for your professional development too. UMUC staff, advisors, and faculty are here for you all year around, including during the summer, so please reach out if you need our assistance. Have a wonderful summer!
Kristin Schrader is the assistant director of InternPlus at University of Maryland University College. She has a background in human resources and has worked in career services at four universities. Some of her favorite ways to volunteer include mentoring current college students, donating blood, and teaching professional development courses. She is extremely passionate about helping others obtain their professional goals.