Ten Tips for College Students to Build Career Readiness Over Summer

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

 Summer has arrived for many college students… 

The lull in class assignments makes summer a great time for students to cultivate connections and prepare for life after college. Senior Director of Career Development at California College of the Arts, Kate Dey, shared her top ten tips for building career readiness over the summer. Encourage your student to consider these recommendations.

  • Network: Think of networking as relationship building, not just gathering the best collection of business cards. Fill your summer with lunch or coffee meetings with friends, friends-of-friends and friends-of-friends-of-friends. Be sure to connect with them on LinkedIn and send a thank-you note after you meet.
  • Start or improve your LinkedIn profile: Endeavor to get as close to 100% complete as possible. Comment on articles, join groups in your field, add strategic contacts, and write a post using your major or program of study expertise.
  • Take classes to fill skills gaps: Research the field you want to work in and look for interesting future job opportunities. Figure out the hiring gaps you may still have, and look for ways to fill those gaps with classes, reading, online training, or tutoring from a friend.
  • Update your resume: Add all of the wonderful skills you have gained over the past year. Add any new projects, internships, or jobs. Fine tune your profile statement.
  • Create or update your portfolio and/or website: Make sure it grabs the viewer’s attention and represents you as an emerging professional in your field. Showcase your creative process.
  • Make an appointment with Career Development/Services: Email your college career team to plan strategically for the year ahead or to brush up on your interview skills.
  • Clean up your online image: What will an employer see if they Google you or find you on Facebook? Now is the time to eliminate anything you do not want an employer or client to see.
  • Align your collateral and brand: Ensure that your resume, LinkedIn profile, portfolio, and business cards are all aligned and showcase you as an emerging professional. Make sure to present an articulate and accurate message and show attention to detail.
  • Get some experience: Look for part-time gigs or projects that can give you experience, strengthen your skills, and provide some financial support. 
  • Have some fun! You have worked hard. Be sure to take some time to unwind and recharge for the year to come. Creative energy requires stubborn self-care.
By Alice Song
Alice Song Career Counselor