It is finally the month of June and everyone can now say that, for college students at least, summer vacation has begun. But as college students, we rarely use our summer breaks to relax at home like we did in elementary, middle and high school, With only about four short years until we leave college and enter "the real world," the few breaks that we have from school need to be used wisely. Although I have my own personal reservations about resumes, I realize that any summer vacation during your college career is an amazing opportunity to build up your resume. Therefore, I came up with five ways that college students can use this summer break to build up their resume, gain experiences and become a better candidate for either graduate schools or the workforce:
1. Make that money, honey
This is a lot easier said that done, but once you find a job you can gain work experience and build your time management skills, especially if you are also taking summer classes. Other than being able to put your job down as work experience on your resume the best thing about having a job is that it allows you to save up a little bit of money. Having a bit of money can never be a bad thing.
There are also a lot of alternatives to getting a traditional job. If you are great at making crafts, start an Etsy store. You can become a freelance photographer, writer or editor. If you search the Internet I am sure there are hundreds of ways to make an honest buck.
2. Do some volunteer work
Although volunteer work is unpaid, you still get to benefit from gaining work experience and you can add your volunteer work to your resume. I actually prefer volunteer work to a paid job because I am doing the work I do because I like the cause. There are a lot of ways to go about doing volunteer work. If there is a specific field you want to go into after college such as law or marine biology and you cannot get an internship in that specific field, then you can find an individual or an agency and ask to work as a volunteer for the summer. You can also do a lot of volunteer work outside of your preferred field. When it comes to volunteer work, the possibilities are basically endless.
3. Snag that internship
Internships are a tricky beast. Everyone seems to have an internship but when you want to find one there seems to never be enough. Any useful internship you can attain, whether it be paid or unpaid, will be beneficial especially if it is in the field you want to go into. By "useful" internships I am referring to an internship where you do more than just making copies and getting coffee for everyone. I am talking about an internship where you are actually shadowing someone and learning about the job they do. I am talking about internships where you actually learn from your experiences there instead of just spending eight hours sitting in a corner. There are a bunch of different ways to find internships. You can ask professors about internship opportunities, search online or even just look up while walking around on campus. I know that at least at City College, internships and other opportunities are sometimes posted on bulletin boards and walls.
4. Take a summer class
Although taking a summer class is not necessarily something you can add to your resume but it is helpful in other ways. If you take a summer class you may be able to graduate earlier than originally expected. Also, by taking a summer class you may be able to lighten the course load for the fall, winter and spring semesters and can use this extra time to work or find an internship. Taking a summer class really just boils down to efficiently using your time in college and may be a great option for some while being a terrible idea for others. Choose wisely and don't take meaningless classes.
5. Go on vacation
You may be looking at No. 5 and thinking that either I got lazy or I really couldn't think of five things or whatever the case may be. But this item actually has a purpose in my mind. Like I said before, I am not crazy about resumes and I noticed that at some point in everyone's college career, they go resume-crazy. For some reason, they feel like they haven't done enough in their life and that they must do everything under the sun in order to build their resume and be a good candidate for jobs. This pushes people to waste their time doing things they otherwise wouldn't care about for the sake of a piece of paper. Not only is this unfair for yourself but it is actually unfair to whoever you are working, volunteering or interning for because they want students who actually care. So if you have some time this summer go on vacation, have some fun and do not think about your resume at all because at the end of the day, it is just a piece of paper and vacation time is good for your mental sanity. Take a "staycation" if that is what you prefer because honestly, sometimes a day or two in bed with a good book, a great show and some ice cream is better than making the effort to travel (at least for me that is).
Go forth and build those resumes.