As a college student, summer break can be a great time to focus on growing professionally in your field. Whether you are preparing for your future career or just looking to gain some valuable experience, there are several simple steps you can take to make the most of your time off.
- Organize your life and map your goals
Organizational skills are essential in any career development process. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to advance in your career, keeping track of your progress is essential. One of the most effective ways to do this is by journaling, making lists, and tracking your goals. To begin with, your own organizational process, start with your dream list of what you want to accomplish the next year or during your summer job. Once the goals are established make a list of things you’ve already achieved and as you construct this list think about things you can add to strengthen your accomplishments and reach that dream list. Once you know what you have to work on it’s easier to plan out how to reach them.
- Craft and refine professional documents
Professional documents include your resume, cover letter, personal statements, etc. Summer break might just be the best time to catch a breath and work on these. Regardless of which document it might be, a solid professional statement has three parts: professional intention, reflection, and connection. A professional intention does not have to fit into a niche but needs to paint a bigger picture of what you want to do, for example, your passion is to solve problems through research. A reflection would include articulating how your experiences or understandings have shaped you towards the path you’re trying to take and the connection is connecting your intent to your reflections.
- Talk to people in the field you’re interested in
In addition to journaling, making lists, and tracking your goals, another great way to grow professionally in your field is to talk to people who are already in it. There is a wealth of knowledge and insights that you can gain from experienced professionals, and they can provide valuable advice on how to excel in your chosen field.
One way to connect with professionals is through resources like Viking Connect. This platform allows you to connect with Lawrence alumni who work in a variety of fields, and they can provide valuable insights into what it takes to succeed in your chosen career. You can reach out to them directly and ask for advice, guidance, and even potential job opportunities. Another way to connect with professionals is to attend career fairs and networking events (check on Handshake!). These events provide an opportunity to meet and talk to professionals in your field, ask questions, and make valuable connections. You can learn about different companies, industries, and career paths, and even get feedback on your resume or job search strategies.