• Lynn Miner-Rosen

7 Things College Students Can Do This Summer To Improve Their Resume

Phew, you did it and now summer is here. It is not too late to plan summer activities that will add value to your college education and your resume. Even if you have not secured that ideal internship this summer, there are still many opportunities for you. Students with ADD/ADHD might be at a slight disadvantage in a future competitive job market and the summer is a great way to help fill in the gaps.

One of the most popular activities for college students is a summer internship. That is when a student spends the summer working as a temporary (and often un- or under-paid) employee of a company. Contrary to what you might think, internships are not the only way to have a amazing, productive summer that will “wow” future employers (and grad schools). Read on to learn how you can have a productive summer, even without a summer internship.

1. Summer Classes

Taking summer classes can be very beneficial. Not only can you take steps to assure that you complete your major in time to graduate, but summer classes have academic benefits. Summer classes are often smaller in size and you can usually get more one-on-one attention, make new friends and have a personal connection with the professor. These are great opportunities for students with ADHD or those students that struggle in a typical school setting and course load. In addition, because most students only take 1 or 2 classes, it is likely that your grades will improve and the summer courses will give help your GPA and boost self-confidence.

2. Work - Summer Job

Even though you might have had your heart set on an internship in the area of your choice, there are plenty of places you can work even as a high school senior. Typically, these positions are in retail or food service, but if you have a family friend who has a connection to a certain company, you may be able to perform more typical office work.

A summer job is a great way to earn money and it will make a nice addition to your resume. Holding down a job as a student requires discipline, commitment, and maturity. Plus, if you form a strong relationship with your boss, he or she may even be able to write an additional letter of recommendation for future jobs. The other benefit of working is to get experience on what you LIKE to do and what you do NOT like to do. Also, having a summer job can look even better on a resume than an internship. If you have ADHD, having work experience will help you solidify in your mind what you like about a job and what you don’t like.

3. Community Service or Volunteer Work

One way to get some work experience and contribute to a cause you’re passionate about is through volunteering. There are many places near you that could use a little extra help from the animal shelter, to the local community center to any nearby non-profit. If you’re looking for experience in an office environment, local government or a nonprofit could probably use a passionate, dedicated volunteer; if you like working with kids, animals, or the outdoors, there are community organizations like boys’ and girls’ clubs and the YMCA that are always seeking volunteers. Remember that employers are not going to ask you how much money you earned, but they will ask about your experience.

4. Start a new hobby or project

Summer is a great time to explore your interests or start a new project. You can use a few months off from school as an opportunity to learn a skill you don’t have time during the school year. Interests could include learning to play the guitar, learning how to use Python or learning a new language, a new sport or activity such as mountain climbing. You can often find courses at your local community college or online or at a local business.

5. Set up Networking opportunities.

Keep an eye out for networking and professional meet-ups. Take the time during the summer to join meet-up groups that are centered around intelligent discussions, common interests or activites. Practice shaking hands and talking to strangers about you and your goals. Update your LinkedIn Profile by having a professional photo and complete your online bio. Take the time in the summer to clean up your digital profile. This is key to getting an internship next year and preparing for your career future.

6. Keep a binder or journal of your thoughts and Ideas

Compile your thoughts and ideas about your future, future careers, careers you have never heard of, etc. in one place to refer to later. I prefer an “old-fashioned” 3-ring binder or journal, but there are many apps connected to the cloud that work just as well. I like Evernote, One Note, Day One or Trello. Do Google searches on potential careers and companies and keep notes organized to refer to in the future. When you find articles on the internet, or YouTube Videos or even from a show you watched, just keep a record in a place where you can find it later.

7. Author a paper, conduct research or write a game program

If there is a topic you’ve always been curious about, you can look online or at your local library to see if there are any resources you could use to learn a bit more or even author a paper. Granted, an essay, thesis, article or book might not sound like something you’d like to do while the sun is shining outside, but it can actually be more fun that you might think!

Not only is it a great way to explore academic interests, it can also sharpen your writing skills. You could also take a creative writing course or game programming course or do some on your own. If you are interested in journalism, writing or programming, you could submit an article to a blog, website or publication.

Internships are an awesome way to gain work experience and learn new things over the summer, but they’re definitely not the only way. Do some research for opportunities to get involved in your community, take classes, learn new things and try to have a productive summer. The career development process should begin in High School and all college students should add to their resume all throughout their college years. Unfortunately, a degree is not enough to secure a position in a company or business that interests you. Start now thinking about all of the possibilities in front of you.

Feel free to comment below. I would love to hear your ideas and experiences.

Lynn Miner-Rosen, M.Ed., ACC, CDCS e-mail: website: phone: 1-800-426-3912