Helping Your Student Plan For Their Career - Blog
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Helping Your Student Plan For Their Career

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Helping Your Student Plan For Their Career

The summer often sneaks up on even the most diligent of students. Though the summer is a great time for a student to build resume experience, planning for it often takes a back seat to fall and spring courses. It is not uncommon for a student to find themselves 2-3 weeks from the end of spring semester with no intentional plans for how they will use their summer. If this is the case for your student, I’ve outlined a few options that can still be helpful as they think about planning for their eventual career or graduate studies.

Internships are a common way a student gets experience in their field before graduation. While hiring for many internships takes place in the fall or early to mid-spring semester, it is still sometimes possible to find one late in the game. One way to do this is to help your son or daughter think through local companies that might be willing to hire them for the summer. Even if they can only hire your student part-time, that could still give them the experience they need to land an internship the following summer or even a full-time job if they will be graduating.

If an internship does not work out, it is still helpful for a student to find ways to connect to their future career field. Another way to do this is through informational interviews. It can be helpful to sit down with your student and brainstorm together anyone you know who works in the field they are interested in pursuing. You might even ask other family members, colleagues, church members, etc., if they know anyone in the field of interest that they would be willing to connect with your student. Once those connections are known, the student should reach out and ask to spend 15-30 minutes with them either in person or virtually. The interview should focus on gleaning as much information about the field of interest as possible and making an authentic connection with the contact. These connections could prove to be invaluable later when the student is looking for another internship, job or even just mentorship within the field.

Lastly, it can be helpful for a student to gain experience in any of the following top competencies employers   look for when hiring a recent college graduate according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2023 Job Outlook article (April 2023):

  1. Problem-solving skills
  2. Ability to work in a team
  3. Strong work ethic
  4. Analytical/Quantitative skills
  5. Written communication skills

Gaining experience in any of these areas can help a student make a strong case for themselves later when they are looking for an internship or even a full-time job. A student can gain this type of experience in many types of summer jobs, from working as a camp counselor, to working part-time in a restaurant setting to working in a retail position. These types of experiences help the student build foundational skills and resiliency. Most employers are looking for at least one type of experience like this when looking at a student resume because it shows they have had experience working for someone and with others.

In the end, writing a strong resume or cover letter and interviewing are all about being able to effectively communicate your experience and how it relates to the position for which you are applying. Regardless of how your student ends up spending their time this summer, whether through an internship, informational interviews or a typical summer job, be sure to recommend they come see us in the Center for Calling and Career when they return in the fall so we can help them capture their experience in the most effective way on their resume.

-Krista Autrey, Director of the Center for Calling & Career