After four years of college, some studying and lots of fun, you’ll no doubt be ready to put your degree to work in a real job, with a real salary. The life of a student scrounging for money and waiting breathlessly for a meager tax refund to pay for car insurance, next month’s rent or if you’re lucky a group spring break trip. With some careful planning and perseverance, a great post college job can go from a wish to a reality. While it’s important to maintain a strong GPA while in school, other factors and choices you make can have just as big, if not bigger, impact on how you stack up to potential employers.
While it might be easy to head home over the summer and continue with your job washing cars, life guarding or waiting tables, it’s not a step towards securing your post college job. The one thing that employers repeatedly express is the value students bring to the table that have had career relevant jobs and internships over the summer during college. This takes a lot of planning, research and networking. The ideal time to begin the summer internship research process is during the fall semester. The most competitive internships are granted between December and January for the following summer. The silver lining is, that once an internship is secured, the process for the summer is over and focus can return to studies and grades.
Most larger universities have career and internship fairs in the fall and spring. These fairs are great opportunities to practice interviewing skills, get feedback on resumes and learn about the different summer opportunities available. Many companies extend full time job offers to students who successfully completed internships. In addition to attending the job and internship fairs on campus, begin to network with family members, parents and others in your circle that may well know of summer opportunities. Finally, the added bonus of interning in your chosen field is to get insight and confirmation that this is indeed where you’d like to start your career. Happy planning, interning and job searching. Good luck to you!