If you find yourself cut off from campus resources, unemployed, or just plain bored this summer, you may feel as if there is nothing you can do to help increase your chances of getting that ideal job or internship in the future. In reality, the summer is a great time to start getting materials together and for making sure you are well prepared when job or internship opportunities present themselves. Here are a few tips to help you get ready for the application process:
- Identify your current educational and professional goals. Doing this can help you determine what you hope to get from an internship or job, and may help to guide your search for positions in the future.
- Get working on your résumé. Check out the Career Center’s website at http://www.lawrence.edu/dept/student_dean/career/resume/ for written information and watch the video at http://www.lawrence.edu/dept/student_dean/career/video/pages/resume_video.shtml. And, even if you are not sure about how to perfectly format a résumé or what exactly to include, creating of list of your experiences and what you learned from each can be extremely useful when you put together a more formal version of your résumé in the future.
- Think about your interests and the type of settings in which you would like to work. This may consist of creating a list of types of organizations that interest you or of positions you are interested in having, which can be useful tools to guide your job and internship search. Also, exploring the websites of employers and other organizations in a field that interests you can give you an idea of possible job titles and positions to consider, as well other employment opportunities you may not have considered.
- Think about what you have to offer a potential employer. Remember, during any hiring process, you will have to demonstrate that you will be an asset to that particular organization, so you should be able to clearly articulate the reasons for this. When considering what you want to highlight about yourself, consider that career/life skills generally fit into the following groups:
- Knowledge Skills – What do you know? Knowledge skills include the specific knowledge you acquire as a part of your education. For example, a history major learns specific dates, a biology major may know specific lab techniques, and a math major learns mathematical formulas. These are content specific and do not transfer form one occupation to another.
- Personal Skills – Who are you? Personal skills are personality traits and characteristics that relate to a person’s success in a particular occupation. These are descriptive and examples include: assertiveness, honesty, compassion, confidence and a willingness to work with others. Personal skills are extremely important to the “fit” between a person and a job.
- Transferable Skills – What can you do? Transferable skills are verbs and describe what an individual can do with people, things, information, and/or dates. “Transferable” means that these skills can be used in a variety of occupational situations. Examples of transferrable skills include: organizing, cooperating, designing, informing, categorizing, and decision-making.
- Explore the websites of particular organizations of interest to find out if there are certain application requirements or early due dates that you will have to meet. Some internships and jobs have application due dates early in the fall, especially really competitive ones in fields like government, journalism, and management consulting.
- Some REU or research internship applications will require personal statements or essays. Think about what you can include in these documents and possibly create a draft that you can email to the Career Center during the summer or that someone in the Career Center can take a look at once you get back on campus.
Taking early steps to prepare may give you a leg up on the competition and can allow you to take advantage of opportunities whenever they present themselves. Once you are back on campus, set up an appointment with a Career Assistant to go over your resume and a Career Adviser to talk about options for your future.