Finals week is here, and the only thing keeping us from drowning in a sea of tears and papers is the sunlight of summer. But as we get older, the vacation from school becomes less about fun and sun and more about our future. The time has come for us to start thinking about our professional lives, and unfortunately that means using the beloved free time of summer to get ahead. Whether you’re interning for free or working at your usual place for some extra cash, the most important thing to remember about summer jobs is experience. You become a member of the working world the minute you walk across the stage and accept your diploma. Even if your graduation date is a few years from now, it is never too early to start taking the steps to ensuring you leave Auburn with career possibilities. Having job experience is so crucial, now more than ever due to recent economic conditions. Though the recession has started to fade and unemployment rates have lowered, your GPA isn’t going to give you the edge over another candidate.
Most internship positions have already been filled, but that doesn’t make it impossible to get your foot in the door. The most important thing to remember is all work experience doesn’t have to be paid. Community service can be a great way to gain experience, and it also looks good on your resume. If you want to be in the medical profession, volunteer at your local hospital or doctor’s office. Nearly every career path offers some sort of volunteer options. Aspiring teachers can benefit from time at daycares or tutoring, future writers can help out at their local libraries. Community service allows you to check out as many options as possible, and although you don’t get paid for your efforts, you see the rewards in different ways. If paid work is what you’re looking for, you may have to put in some effort. Luckily the high school kids have yet to get out of school and scoop up all the decent jobs, so there is still a chance you’ll score a good opportunity! Remember to look for things that interest you and go along with what you’re thinking for the future. If you want a career in fashion, work in retail chains or local boutiques. Restaurants are nearly always looking for waitresses or hostesses, so put your name out there if you’re interested in that industry.
The relationships you build with your co-workers, and possibly vendors depending on your job location, can lead to internships or other work connections in the future. Showing up on time and giving 110% while you’re on the job will give your leaders the impression that you can and will continue to do a great work. Plus, you never know—the interns chosen may fail, leaving a spot open for you to slide in and obtain that internship during the summer. Even if you’re just working part time, be sure to make the best impression on your bosses. The only thing better than making money during the summer, is the possibility that you could return to the same job the following year. No matter what you decide to do for your career this summer, make sure you’re doing something you enjoy. If you aren’t lucky to find work in an area that will help you in the long run, find a job that is entertaining and fun! Parents always need nannies for their kids during summer vacation, which is a great way to earn money and still have your nights free.
And if you’re fortunate enough to have the option to travel for a summer job, do something completely different and exciting! As for me, I’ll be spending the summer working at the happiest place on Earth, Walt Disney World in sunny Orlando, Florida! Stay tuned for Her Campus Auburn’s one-of-a-kind “The Disney Diaries”, going live weekly this summer. So if you’re stuck in the halls of Haley Center or working a boring job back at home, you can still gain a little corporate know-how through the chronicles of my experience working for one of the biggest companies in the world.