10 Ways To Advance Your Career Development This Summer!

We’ve been waiting for it all year, and summer is finally almost here! While it’s the perfect time to unwind, relax, and soak up the sun, it’s also a great opportunity to think about your career development without the distractions of classes and college life. Here are 10 ways that you can maximize your summer to advance your career!

  1. Set up informational interviews

Summer provides ample time to expand your network by reaching out to alumni, employers, connections through family and friends, and anyone else whose career you are interested in learning more about. Send someone a quick message on LinkedIn, use the MentorMatch platform, or strike up a conversation with an employee at your summer job who works in a different department. Networking doesn’t have to be super formal, a brief chat or asking a few questions can go a long way. Also, don’t be afraid to share your personal and professional goals in conversation with friends and family- they want to see you succeed and they have their own network that they can introduce you to!

  1. Update your resume

After a full academic year, chances are you have a lot of new experiences and skills to add to your resume. If you haven’t had a chance to make updates to your resume experiences and bullet points, take some time this summer to work on this! Plus, if you have a summer job or internship, remember to include these experiences as well. Once your resume is polished, you will be ready for the busy fall application season and the Binghamton Job and Internship Fair that will be held in September. 

  1. Polish your LinkedIn profile

Along with updating your resume, editing your LinkedIn profile is important as well because it is where you can build your connections. Many job applications encourage you to add your LinkedIn, so you want to ensure it is professional and up-to-date. Just as you did with your resume, take some time to add information that is relevant. Consider making a post to share with your network if you have any exciting professional updates, such as a graduation announcement or an internship acceptance. This is a great way to stay in contact with your connections and demonstrate your professional achievements. 

  1. Take a new headshot

If it’s been a while since you last took a professional headshot, or if you don’t have one at all, be sure to check this off your summer to-do list. Students can use the free, easy-to-use Iris photo booth located in the Fleishman Center anytime during the office’s summer hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you’re not in Binghamton, have someone take a picture for you- make sure to wear professional attire, find an area with good lighting, and try to have a simple background! Otherwise, make a plan to visit the photo booth in the Fleishman Center once the fall semester starts. 

  1. Work, intern, or shadow

This may seem obvious, but working or interning over the summer makes for the perfect opportunity to gain experience, build your skills, and expand your knowledge and network. They allow you to apply a lot of the things you’ve learned in the classroom in the real world and learn how the day-to-day operations function within a certain industry. Check out a list of job and internship postings on Handshake and filter your preferences according to what you are interested in. If you don’t have a job or internship for the summer, ask to shadow a professional who works in a career field you’re considering or at a company that you want to learn more about. This can provide valuable insight into a particular industry. 

  1. Take a course or earn a certification

Even if you’re not taking a class through Binghamton University over the summer, there are still opportunities to learn! There are a variety of free online courses available that can teach you practical, transferable skills to use in your career. Some of these courses are offered through Coursera and Google and teach skills such as Excel, Python, SQL, and SEO. Many of these courses have a program length of a few weeks to a few months and can be completed on your own time. These skills can then be added to your resume and can bolster your qualifications when applying for jobs and internships. Some courses even provide you with an official certification that can be shared on LinkedIn. Consider looking into these courses to grow your skills and fill your time without spending a ton of money. 

  1. Volunteer 

Getting involved in your local community is another great way to build your experiences. Volunteering provides you with meaningful experiences to meet people, make a difference, and shape your own goals. Many organizations look for volunteers to assist them over the summer, so be on the lookout for causes that you feel strongly about and want to contribute to. 

  1. Practice interviewing

Interviewing is a skill, and if you are not practicing it, you risk losing your progress. The summer is a great time to hone this skill ahead of time before you need it. This way, you don’t need to be stressed out when you know you have an interview coming up during the school year. Rehearse answers to the most common interview questions and update your answers according to any new relevant experiences. Consider setting up a mock interview with a career consultant or use the virtual practice interview platform, Big Interview to go over frequently-asked interview questions and receive feedback on your answers. Remember, practice makes perfect! 

  1. Refine your goals 

Your career goals are likely to change over time, especially year-to-year in college when you are taking new classes, meeting new people, and immersing yourself in different jobs, internships, and extracurriculars. Take some time to reflect on what you are passionate about, what interests you, and what your skills are. Based on this information, you may be thinking of a different career than you were a year ago, therefore it may be time to make an updated plan to help you work toward your new career goals.  

  1. Meet with a career consultant- remote options available for the summer

Last but not least, meeting with a Fleishman Center career consultant is a great way to advance your career development over the summer! Just because you’re not on campus over the summer doesn’t mean you don’t have access to the valuable resources that the Fleishman Center provides. You can schedule a virtual appointment in Handshake with a career counselor to go over any career-related topic. Whether you want to review your resume, polish a cover letter, practice interviewing, or are seeking advice for internship applications, there is someone who can help you achieve your career goals! 

Have a great summer, Bearcats!

By Valerie Stracquadanio
Valerie Stracquadanio Senior Experience Consultants