I had a realization earlier today that the start of fall semester here at UNC is less than one month away. There is a lot of excitement that I associate with the beginning of the semester, as well as some grief at the loss of summer. For many, that realization is coupled with thoughts of all that has not been accomplished this summer. I am here to say that in terms of your career activities, one month is an eternity. There are countless positive steps you can take over the course of four weeks that can have dramatic effect on your career. Here are some thoughts to jump start your own end-of-summer career planning.
Conduct at least two informational interviews per week.
You don’t have to be as hardcore as Dan Schawbel or RoadTrip Nation to have some truly educational and transformational experiences. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn and how much your network will grow.
There are so many good organizations doing work in so many worthwhile areas that you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding a good cause that will simultaneously allow you to develop and apply your skill set to benefit all parties involved. Don’t know where to begin? Goggle for non-profits in your area or check sites like http://www.serve.gov/.
Update your resume right now.
If you’re a rising senior, on-campus recruiting will begin very soon after your classes begin, and you don’t want to scramble to recall everything you did over the summer with an important deadline looming. Update your documents and online profiles to reflect your new experiences as soon as possible.
Don’t get lazy, take on one more big project. It’s easy to coast through to the end of your internship. Resist that temptation. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity or experience builder simply because you were focused on other things.
Meet with your career center and others who are on your “career team” now to plan your next step or simply to reflect and learn from your summer experiences. Once classes begin it will be harder for you and them to find time.
Tap into your intrinsic motivation.
Challenge yourself to do more, learn more, experience more before summer ends. Apologies for sounding like a bargain-bin self-help tape or perhaps the Simpsons’ Ranier Wolfcastle (“step over to the abdominator and I will shout slogans at you…feel the burn, master your ass”). But, as long as I’m going down that path, allow me to leave you with a quote from Shakespeare: Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends.
Gary is a 15-year veteran of higher education in variety of student services and managerial roles at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Georgia State University and the University of Washington. His areas of expertise as a student services professional include dynamic group presentations, internships, and department marketing, strategy and technology utilization. He is currently assistant director for business-related internships at University Career Services at UNC-Chapel Hill.