Question: What can I do over the summer or while I’m searching for a permanent job so that my resume doesn’t have a gap in it?
Excellent question! There are many things you can be doing over the summer to gain experience, build skills, network, and in turn, make your resume stronger. Here are some ideas:
- Internship – 9 in 10 employers said they look for students to have one or two internships before graduating, and that those internships should be at least three months each to provide enough experience. If you don’t already have an internship for the summer, create your own! Here’s how! Or get planning for next summer.
- Part-time or temporary job – you can gain many skills through a part-time or temporary job no matter where you work. Communication, teamwork, adaptability, problem-solving, initiative, hard-working…these are all qualities employers across industries seek in their employees and you can easily demonstrate this on your resume through a part-time job. Also, sometimes that temporary job could turn into full time!
- Volunteer – there are so many places that could use your help and volunteering is a great way to assist others and also improve your own skills. Thinking about becoming a vet? Volunteer at the humane society. Want to be a writer? Volunteer to start a blog for a nonprofit and write the entries. Interested in teaching? Volunteer at a kids camp or summer school program. The opportunities are endless!!!
- Go abroad – summer is a fantastic time to travel! Going abroad either through school or on your own can be a great way to learn more about another culture and yourself. You can also build your network internationally and even better if you learn another language (or at least the basics!).
- Take a class or two – either for your major or just to learn another skill (Photoshop, html code, typing, pretty much there is a class for everything these days!)…and oftentimes you can find them online.
- Start your own business – due to technology pretty much anyone can start their own business and with little cost. Find out some strategies to get you started.
- Start your own blog – blogging is a great way to network and be known in your field…or even in an area that isn’t necessarily related to your career. It shows that you have something to offer and you become somewhat of an “expert” on that topic. It also demonstrates your written communication skills and these days many companies have blogs and therefore need people to manage and write for the blog. There are various blogging platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, Weebly, etc. Here is a great article about the top 10 free online blogging platforms.
These are just a few ideas of ways you can gain experience and skills over the summer or while searching for a permanent job and still have some fun! And hopefully you will find that the things you are doing to gain experience and make yourself more marketable on your resume are FUN…this means you are probably going into an industry that fits your interests, strengths, and values and therefore you are more likely to be happy in your career.
What will you be doing this summer to develop your skills and gain experience? Any new ideas from the list above? Any career related questions you want answered during our Q & A Monday post? Comment below!
Jen Busick, Career Advisor & Outreach Coordinator at Oregon State University advises students about internships and the job search, applying to graduate school, resumes/cover letters, and interviewing. She also organizes and updates resources, manages social media for Career Services and coordinates outreach opportunities. She enjoys working with students in coming up with a plan to finding a job and assisting them with figuring out the next steps. She has a lot of international experience, including the Peace Corps, study abroad, and independent travel.