It’s that time of year again when students are able to put away their books, step away from their computers and step outside in the world for a couple months of the year without the pressure of assignments and exams constantly breathing down their neck. But for those people looking to get ahead in their careers, there’s always that nagging question of: ‘Well, what do I do?’
While your current classmates – and possibly some of your future colleagues – may have decided to go down to the pub or catch up on that ever-evasive sleep, there are certain steps you can follow to either figure out what it is you want to do in the future, or how to kick-start your career before you’re even out of education.
1. Think about what you want to do
Start by having a serious think about what you want to do career-wise after school. If you’re at college, then you should already have a decent idea of where you want to end up. This could be the hardest step; when you’re young, it can be quite hard to figure out what it is you want to be doing this time in ten, 20, even 30 years, so it always takes the most time. With college students, this hard part is over – or, at least, it should be, so you can rest assured that everything else should, hopefully, come relatively easily, provided you’re willing to put in the effort that is.
The holidays provide more volunteer and pro bono opportunities than any other time of the year. Volunteering can help you expand your network, make contacts, gain new skills and build your resume. If you’ve already got some money saved up, there’s always the option of volunteering overseas.
3. Get work experience or a summer internship
Securing some work experience in your school holidays will help you figure out what you want to do for a career as well as providing experience that you can put on your CV. It’s a good way of using your summer holiday productively, as it means that rather than drifting aimlessly during those long weeks you have away from school/college, you’re working towards getting yourself on a rewarding career path. If you’ve already decided on what career path you want to follow, as mentioned above, then it’s best to try get work experience or an internship in a company you can see yourself working at in the future.
4. Get networking
Start building a network of contacts now, and you’ll be aware of job opportunities as and when they arise. Get yourself on LinkedIn and start joining groups relevant to the career you want to pursue. This will prove a valuable source of advice, and you’ll start getting your name recognised in the industry by asking questions and contributing an intelligent opinion on industry-relevant debates.
As clichéd as this one might seem, sometimes there’s no harm in taking a break from the hectic schedule of finding a job – especially if you’ve just finished handing in assignments and doing exams. Who knows, maybe you might even have some exciting new opportunities on your travels and meet some people who could help you career-wise down the road.
Do you have any more summer career tips? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo: Axel / Flickr