Check out some great advice from Michele Doran, Associate Director, Knowlton Center for Career Exploration!
While having an internship at a Fortune 500 company or conducting summer research certainly stands out on a resume, not every student, for various reasons will participate in that type of opportunity. So what DID you do this summer? I am always surprised at how sheepishly students bring up the fact that they didn’t have an internship over the summer. In most cases students had a “summer job” and unfortunately, many seem embarrassed by that.
Summer internships and research can be very valuable with regards to career preparation, however, students should not discount the importance of other types of summer experiences. The important thing is to reflect deeply on how you grew over the summer.
If you traveled, did you learn to problem solve, get more comfortable with other cultures, step outside of your comfort zone? Perhaps this is the only time due to academics that you had the time to travel, no need to apologize for that. Traveling and experiencing new places can be very influential to your overall personal growth.
Maybe you had a less-than-glamorous summer job. What did skills did you develop? Did you develop a work ethic, work with a diverse team, gain an understanding of the importance of deadlines and maybe get exposure to a career field that you never thought of? Spent your summer as a nanny or babysitter? Consider time management skills developed getting multiple children to different activities at different locations, conflict resolution (when dealing with sibling squabbles) and negotiating skills (no one drives a harder bargain than a truculent teenager).
Time to update that resume!
When you are updating your resume at the end of summer make sure to take the time to reflect on your experience. Ask yourself what instances made you stretch yourself, what seemed most important to you and how might these learning experiences be transferable to other fields? It isn’t too late to start a journal to take notes. When adding to your resume remember to focus on your accomplishments and not necessarily each individual task for which you were responsible.
Of course, the staff from The Austin E. Knowlton Center for Career Exploration is ready to help you wade through these questions, regardless of what how you spent your summer—we can’t wait to see you soon!