Work on Your Summer Career Plans Now

It may seem like forever from now, but summer break will be here before you know it. And with summer break, comes either an internship or a part-time job. Or maybe both.

If you haven’t started planning what you’re going to be doing this summer, you’re already far behind. Some internships have deadlines that were due in December. But if you are late jumping on to the summer internship bandwagon, it’s never too late to get started.

Here’s what you can do to put yourself out there:

1. Schedule a meeting with your department’s career adviser
This is the best place to start because he/she may know about internships that you won’t be able to find searching by yourself. Or this person may have a connection with a company that fits with what you’re looking for. If your department doesn’t have a specific adviser, go to your campus career center for help. You won’t know what’s out there unless you ask!

2. Ask professors for ideas
Professors weren’t always educators — many of them have years of experience out there in the “real world.” And if you’re a good student, they’ll be willing to stick out their neck for you. Even if they don’t have a personal connection, they could know of a few resources for you to check out.

3. Reach out in your hometown
If you keep trying and can’t score an internship anywhere, try to contact professionals in your hometown. This way, you’ll be able to actually make money at a part-time job AND shadow or freelance in your spare time. The summer after my freshman year of college, I couldn’t find anything, so I spent my summer working at a local amusement park and got a “stringer” gig with the community paper. I only wrote one article, but at least it was something to add to my resume and portfolio!

If you can’t afford to do an unpaid internship (or just can’t find any internship at all), you’ll want to land a part-time job. Not only will you get paid, but at least you’re doing something productive (and you’ll have something to add to work experience on your resume).

1. If you want a job back …
Often times, employers hire a few months out, so don’t expect to waltz back in and get your summer job back. Call your boss a month or two in advance and let them know you’ll be back for duty this summer.

2. If you want a flexible job …
Look into nannying, babysitting or petsitting for neighbors. You can make a lot of money doing this since taxes aren’t taken out of this income. If you end up with the right gig, you could get to babysit for a family that pays you to take their kids on outings (or even better, would pay for your pool pass).

3. If you want a job that has to do with your career …
Get creative in what you’re looking for. Just because you can’t find an internship at an office, doesn’t mean you can’t still work there. Look into working in the mail room or some other office work. Let your boss know in your interview that you’re interested in this field, and you could end up with an internship just by networking around the office.

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