8 ways to grow professionally and academically this summer

Hello hello!

Today’s post is going to pertain to any college student, recent grad, and even high school student out there who is looking for ways to improve themselves professionally this summer. While many students’ internships, jobs, and research positions have been cancelled due to the coronavirus, there are still many ways to get involved with improving yourself academically and professionally over the summer months. I am incredibly thankful to still be able to partially do my internship with a wedding venue this summer, but I also decided to add an online course to my summer mix because I wanted to keep learning and take a course I wouldn’t be able to take in my normal schedule. If you’re at a loss of what to do this summer, keep reading! 

// 1: Update your LinkedIn //

If you aren’t on LinkedIn, you should really consider it. LinkedIn is a great way to connect to people in your intended career field, with your peers, and to seek out and find internships and jobs. It’s also super easy to network and become familiar with the jobs a company offers, what type of employees a company is looking for, and more. A great way to start is to fill in the profile with information from your resume. Then connect with people from high school or college and start adding more and more connections. You can get creative with your tagline, your header, and make connections with people at companies you might be looking at working for. I also highly suggest listing out action phrases of what you did at past work experiences and volunteer work. (example: turn “I was the assistant and responded to emails” into “Assisted the upper level management and aided with communication methods such as email…”. You can search easily on Google or Pinterest for easy fixes on LinkedIn. 

// 2: Update your Resume //

This is probably one of the easiest things to do! I try to update my resume after the end of each semester, because usually I have a course or two I can add to my experience as well as an internship or club position. If you also have a pretty basic resume and want to amp it up a bit, you can create a new design or use a template through canva. I also like to make several different resumes to cater to different applications and jobs (it’s always important to change the language in your resume as well as the experience you put on it if you are applying to different jobs that might require different skillsets and experiences). Also, research what type of resumes employers in your intended industry are looking for. I am intending to go into a creative/communications field, so I think it’s reasonable to have a bit of color on my resume. While my resume isn’t super flashy, it still has a pretty color and a strong headline. You could also consider talking to your career office at your college or a guidance counselor at your high school for advice on what your resume should look like!

// 3: Create cover letter templates //

Cover letters are my absolute LEAST favorite thing about a job application. To many people’s surprise, I actually hate writing, especially if it’s about myself. I am great at explaining scientific research and my thoughts on fashion and books, but when it comes to writing about myself or even advice, I fall short. I just really don’t know what to say. So I challenged myself this last semester to write several cover letters and adjust them for each job I apply to. I did a lot of research about what to write in the cover letter, so I suggest starting there and then asking a family member or counselor to review its content. This is a time-consuming process but we have tons of time for it this summer of course

// 4: Take an online course //

Registration might be closed for the majority of online classes, but if you know that your school or another college is still allowing registration for online classes, consider taking one! This is a great way to catch up academically if you are behind, take a course in an area you normally wouldn’t take classes in, and also explore a new area of study. I am taking a marketing course this summer because I cannot take it when it is offered at my school. Online courses are a lot of work, but we have the time this summer and they generally only take a month or two! 

// 5: Update your business casual/professional wardrobe //

If you have the financial means to do so, consider updating your wardrobe with some business casual and professional pieces. So many brands are discounting their items because sales are down right now, so search around for items you are needing. I suggest a couple pairs of slacks, longer length skirts, neutral blouses, loafers, and a blazer or two. I also prefer to wear dresses at work and internships so search for longer and more dressy material dresses to wear. Selling apps such as Mercari and Poshmark are also great places to look because you can buy name-brand items for much cheaper prices!

// 6: Reach out to individuals in your intended career field for information interviews //

Many people have more time on their hands right now because their work is slow at the moment or they are working from home. Consider reaching out to someone you or a family member/friend knows in an industry you are interested in. It doesn’t have to be someone at a company or even in a specific job role you want to do, just someone who can give you some advice and guidance on how to get started in a particular field. You can reach out through LinkedIn or email- and the worst thing that could happen is they so no! Which really is no big deal. 

// 7: Offer to help small businesses with social media and clerical work //

If you want to do a little bit of work that you can put on a resume, consider reaching out to small businesses in your area and ask if you can help with social media and assistant work. Digital marketing is extremely lucrative right how, and many businesses don’t have the skillset to penetrate the social media channels with their business. Offer some of your services at a discounted rate if you have the skills to help. 

// 8: Apply to jobs and internships //

Even though you might not have a job or internship right now, try to apply to anything you see relating to your interests that pops up on job sites, internship databases, and LinkedIn. Companies might start looking for interns for the fall and spring semesters, so hop on early and start applying to potential positions. It doesn’t hurt to be proactive!



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