Hack Your Summer: A Guide to Career Success

Whether you’re looking for a summer internship, a part-time job, or other ways to build your skills and network, there are plenty of options for making the most of your summer. Getting applied experience (like internships, part-time jobs, volunteer or leadership experiences, personal projects, or business ventures) during your time in college has a significant impact on your career outcome.

Lundquist students who participated in more than one applied experience while in college were much more likely to have a good career outcome lined up when they graduated.

In this post, we’ll share some quick tips for getting the most out of the upcoming UO Career and & Internship Expo and some ideas for building your professional skills outside of an internship.

Quick Tips for Career Expo Success

Attending the upcoming career expo is a great way to connect with potential employers and find summer internship opportunities. Here are some quick tips for success:

  1. Do your research: Before the career fair, research the companies that will be attending and come up with a list of those that interest you. Be prepared to talk about why you’re interested in their company and what you can bring to the table.
  2. Dress appropriately: First impressions count, make sure your appearance is polished.
  3. Bring your resume: Have copies of your resume printed out and ready to hand out to potential employers.
  4. Be confident and enthusiastic: Employers are looking for candidates who are passionate about their field and confident in their abilities. Make sure you’re expressing your enthusiasm for the industry and the opportunities available.

Other Ways to Build Your Professional Skills During the Summer

If a summer internship isn’t in the cards for you, there are other ways to build your skills and network this summer. Here are some ideas:

  1. Try a virtual immersive employer experience: These virtual work experience programs replicate work at top companies and help you gain the skills to be successful when applying and working there.
  2. Find a part-time job: Part time jobs allow you to gain professional experience that helps you build transferrable skills, like customer service, communication, problem solving, and more.
  3. Take a course or workshop: Summer can be a great time to take a course or workshop related to your desired career field. Many universities offer summer courses or workshops that are open to the public.
  4. Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to build your skills and make connections while also giving back to your community. Look for volunteer opportunities that relate to your desired career field.
  5. Start a project: Use your summer to start a project that showcases your skills and interests. For example, you could start a blog, create a portfolio of your work, or develop a business plan for a startup idea.
  6. Attend events: Summer is a great time to attend networking events, industry conferences, or other events related to your desired career field. Look for events in your area or online that you can attend to build your network.

Summer break is a great time to focus on your professional development and career goals. Whether you’re attending a networking event, volunteering, taking a course, or starting a project, there are plenty of ways to build your skills and make connections this summer. We encourage you to use it as an opportunity to grow and move closer to your career goals. With the right mindset and a little effort, you can make this summer both productive and fulfilling.

By JD Van Alstyne (he/him)
JD Van Alstyne (he/him) Graduate Career Advisor