It’s officially summer in Portland. Residents of the Rose City are trading their raincoats for shorts and swimsuits. It’s the perfect time to enjoy all that Oregon’s outdoors have to offer, including hiking the Columbia River Gorge, attending music festivals and hosting backyard barbecues.
Summer is also the perfect opportunity to gain valuable experience at a job or internship. You can build new skills, expand your career network and add to your resume. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your summer.
Figure Out Your Goals
Knowing your goals before you start the job hunt will help you save time and get the most out of your work experience. Do you need to earn extra money? Want to develop a specific skill? Hope to explore a career you have interest in? You should use this information to prioritize what jobs you apply for. Don’t waste your time applying for jobs you know aren’t a good fit.
Don’t be afraid to ask professionals in your field for an informational interview. On top of building your network, these interviews can help you see if that industry or career path is what you want to do after graduating.
Use Career Services
This resource helps students and alumni achieve their career goals. Check out Handshake, our database of job postings and internships. Career Services also hosts career workshops and fairs throughout the year. This is your go-to place to get help with your resume, cover letters and more.
Spread the Word
Connect with friends, family and professors about your job search and explain what you’re looking for. Ask for their advice and see if they can put you in touch people in your desired industry. Other students are also a great resource, since they may know who is hiring both on and off campus.
Research the employers you’re interested in and the people who work there. This can easily be done with a quick Google or LinkedIn search—you may learn you already have connections! Incorporate relevant information from the job posting and your research into your resume and cover letter. Show them why you’re the perfect fit for their company.
Should you be granted an interview, be prepared to answer questions about your skills and why you’re interested in that particular position. Ask a mentor or friend to do a mock interview, so you can practice your answers and get used to the interview environment. Try to make it as close to the real thing as possible.
When you go to the interview, make sure you arrive early, turn off your cell phone and show enthusiasm for the position. Get the names of your interviewers. Follow-up the interview with a thank you note—this little touch can help you make a memorable impression. Pro tip: Bring a thank you card with you to the interview and fill it out before you leave the office.
In a competitive job market, a career-related summer job or internship can make the difference in obtaining a full-time position. It is also a great way to make contacts and show employers your interest in their field after graduation.
Take Summer Classes
We know, taking classes is often the last thing students want to do over the summer, but the PSU Summer Session is the perfect opportunity to launch your career after you graduate. PSU offers over 1,300 online and on-campus summer courses ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. Taking classes over the summer can help you explore new subjects, learn about your desired field and graduate sooner.
So while you’re enjoying Oregon’s beautiful summer weather, make sure you’re setting yourself up for success in your future career!
Already thinking ahead to when you return to school? Check out our blog about why you should get an on-campus job.