School is on a break and maybe that internship or higher paying summer job did not work out how you had hoped. It’s so tempting to grumble about it and kick back the next several weeks until the fall. Not taking actions to improve your list of references, qualifications, and skills could make the damage to your bank account even worse later.
Don’t let those burning empty pockets you have today become an obstacle to earning money later.
Instead, take that energy you are spending in frustration and channel it towards a long-term win for your wallet and your success.
A top focus now should be to pick up the phone to volunteer at a place where you believe in the cause. Yes, volunteering does not pay now but it pays off later. By the end of the summer, you will see it has improved your network, increased your learning, and given you much more professional experience to talk about in interviews.
Here are five more ways to maximize this time off during the summer to help increase your future earnings and still be seen as an asset to employers.
1. Improve your cultural competence
Many companies do not have the time to train a new recruit to work positively with others from different backgrounds and socio-economic circumstances. They want evidence in your interview that you have handling diversity down. Traveling abroad might not be feasible right now, but there is so much you can experience online and likely within your own community to expand in this area. You can begin by finding a group where you can practice that second language you are working on, discovering a festival going on that is celebrating another country, and exploring the stories of other people and places online (http://www.viewchange.org/videos is helpful to start). However, getting advanced in this area is what many employers really drool over. When you can describe situations where you were aware at what you didn’t know and yet remained open to understand what other’s expectations were, you then have increased your worth to a hiring manager.
2. Set up Informational Interviews
The more you know about the ups and downs concerning the field you are pursuing, the more the employers can start to picture you doing the job they need. Even these days with more hustle and bustle, if asked many professionals will take a 15 minute time out of their schedule to meet with someone interested in their field. It has to be a genuine passion you have in that person’s job (not just in the company that they work for). Items you want to gather from informational interviewing include what professional associations or networking groups the person recommends in the field, which steps did they take to be where they are today, and what continues to inspire them to do it.
3. Learn more about what it takes to start your own business
This is a valuable path to explore both because employers often expect new hires to be highly resourceful, independent, and high performing and it gives you an inside view of what it takes to be a boss or CEO. You can visit local business center offices that often help new start-ups or explore the many free tools now available online for eager entrepreneurs.
4. Get savvy with social media marketing tools and apps
Companies will be impressed with how you can help them gain more exposure in social media versus another candidate that does not have an easy time with adapting to the way things are changing online. Design applications are becoming more do-it-yourself and social media outlets keep evolving. Most of all, researching so you know the ins and outs of how each generation prefers to be marketed to is a transferable skill that can come in handy when asked how you will help the company grow.
5. Upgrade your interview skills (yes, shameless plug!)
Instead of waiting until you feel you are in a pressure cooker of anxiety with an interview right around the corner, use this time to get more comfortable in the hot seat now. Practice with a professional to uncover any limiting beliefs, unprofessional habits, or other blockers to you giving your best first impression to employers.
Be sure to hire a certified interview coach with many years of experience. Not only will you have an advantage in impressing employers more, but this support can help you learn how to walk away from interview experiences without falling into the common traps of lingering self-doubt, low confidence, and giving up that make it take longer to land the job you want.
Your turn--So often we can read a list of great tips but can be tempted to stay stuck when things are not working out how we hoped. What else can you do to increase success for your future this summer?
Most of all, believe in you. I do.