It’s January. Your mind is probably preoccupied with thoughts of the new semester, your broken New Years resolutions, and how cold it is outside (unless you’re one of our readers from the deep south…though 50 degrees might still feel frigid to you). Is now really the time to be stressing about your summer commitments?
The honest answer is yes. Though postings pop up throughout the year (and you may find your perfect position at the eleventh hour), your summer job and internship search will be a lot easier if you start right now. Here are some helpful tips on how to start early and job hunt like a pro:
Create a Timeline
It’s not scramble time quite yet. Major kudos if you already submitted applications and have a few interviews under your belt, but there is still time to snag that perfect summer opportunity. In most cases, January is the best month to begin your search. At AroundCampus Group, we start recruiting for our summer interns in January and find many of our strongest candidates before Valentine’s Day. It’s not realistic for every student to nail down their summer job that early, but a good benchmark is to have all of your applications out before spring break. I’m doubtful you’ll want to stress over your job search when you could be carefree and sipping light beer at Panama City Beach.
The first step to success is preparation. You want all of your materials arranged and your confidence high. Secondly, update your resume. You’re not in high school anymore, so make sure it’s up to date, clean, and professional. Also, take advantage of on-campus cover letter workshops. Pro tip: it takes practice to become a cover letter wizard; they’re not formed overnight.
Do Your Research
Whether you’re a PR major who is looking for openings at a marketing company, a pre-med student who’s ready to gain clinical experience, or a business major who wants to do…business, your summer job and internship search will be easier if you’re able to narrow it down. You may already have an action plan that you formed upon graduating pre-school, or you may desperately need to meet with your campus career advisor. Either way, you’ll need to assess your goals and form a game plan. When you think you have some ideas in mind, research nearby companies and enticing positions and send over your resume.
Alas, the rumors are true: networking is important. Though many young professionals form a career without ever attending an awkward, formal event with nametags and finger foods, you shouldn’t necessarily rely on Monster and Indeed alone. The reality is that connections are a foot in the door, and you know what they say: a foot in the door leads to two feet in the office (I may or may not have just made that up right now.) It never hurts to put out feelers—ask your friends, your parents’ friends, your friends’ parents, or your professors to see if they know of anyone hiring. You never know when that acquaintance of a roommate of a boyfriend of a classmate will pull through.
Hopefully you’re now feeling energized and ready to jumpstart your job-hunt (or at least send your resume to your mom to review.) Remember that even if your friends haven’t started their search, reaching out early shows focus, drive, and organization. Now get out there, update that LinkedIn, schedule that career advisor appointment you’ve been putting off, and land that perfect job!