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How to Figure Out What You Want to Do Over the Summer

As we turn our calendars to March, we start to feel the increasing anxiety and pressure for finding something to do over the summer, something that feels productive and related to your future. And that anxiety and pressure has only intensified for this summer, coming off of cancelled internships and jobs from last summer and programs that are still up in the air for this summer. 

But it is possible to finding something to do over the summer, even if it’s not what you initally planned. And since it is an overwhelming process, especially if you have never done it before, we are sharing our tips on how to get started, stay organized, and, hopefully, land something for the summer. 

Spreadsheets Are the Name of the Game

After three summers of trying to sort out my summer plans, I have realized that my greatest tip for acquiring an internship or job is creating a spreadsheet in Google Drive or Excel where you can keep track of all of the companies and organizations you apply to. This step is the first thing I do when I sit down to plan for the summer (or post-college life for that matter). I will typically create several columns which include the name of the company, contact information, deadlines, and the date which I reached out/sent in my application as well as follow-up dates. After these columns are set, I will then start researching positions and programs, putting all of the relevant info in the spreadsheet. Once I have a sizable list (20-30 positions), I will then start to send out my resume and cover letter. The best part about using a spreadsheet method such as this one is that you can stay on top of when you submitted an application, which is helpful when following up or reaching out to a new company.

– Elizabeth Berry ‘21

Master the Cold Email

Some of the best opportunities have come to me from cold emails! Practice writing a concise email, similar to your “elevator pitch,” that breaks down who you are and what you’ll bring to an organization. You can outline this email and then adjust specific information and key words for each organization you reach out to, making it quick and easy to send when you come across an opportunity. 

– Kendall Foley ‘24

Save Everything You Write

A lot of summer jobs, especially summer camp jobs, have an internal application system. These applications usually don’t require a resume, and instead have you input all your information manually. This is a pretty tedious process, especially if you are applying to multiple places with internal applications. They also usually have a few questions, such as “Why do you want to work at a summer camp?” and “What is your ideal workday?”. Your answers to these questions will probably be similar for each application. Create a Google Doc to save all of your answers to these application questions. Then, you don’t have to write as many questions out from scratch. Even if the questions on a certain application are all new, reading over these answers may help you organize your thoughts. Having all these answers saved may also help you down the line when writing a cover letter.

– Ellie Wagner ‘23

It’s OK to Think Outside the Box

One of the hardest parts about this process is when things don’t work out. Even when you do everything right, sometimes things just don’t go your way. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still make the most out of your summer. I recommend searching, of course, on the big job/internship websites like Indeed and Internships.com, but I would also suggest looking for job websites that are a bit more targeted to the industry you are interested in. For instance, I am interested in a career in publishing and editing, and when my first applications didn’t work out, I tried smaller websites, like Ed2010 and MediaBistro, both websites that help you pursue careers in the editing and media fields. Ed2010 was where I found the job listing for my current job as Managing Editor at Paperback Paris, a book reviewing website, that would eventually help me land a temp job at Scholastic (which was also thanks to Conn alumni, something else you should try!). In addition to trying other smaller websites, it’s also a good idea to try taking a class or program related to something you are intested in, whether that’s through Conn’s summer program or a different remote program, because you can still gain valuable experience (or maybe even a certificate) that will help you in your career journey going forward. Sometimes, it’s the small opportunities that you find by chance that propel you forward further than you expected!

– Elizabeth Vinson ’21

Hopefully, our suggestions will help as you continue the process of finding a summer job or internship. If you need some more help, be sure to check out Her Campus’ Job & Internship Board, their section on “Get Your Dream Job” in the resources tab, and their super insightful articles in their Money + Career section!

Elizabeth Berry

Conn Coll '21

Elizabeth Berry is an English and Italian Studies double major at Connecticut College with a passion for journalism. She enjoys overnight oats, traveling to new cities, and reading the night away.
Kendall Foley

Conn Coll '24

Kendall Foley is a sophomore at Connecticut College majoring in Philosophy and pursuing a Pathway in Data, Information, and Society. At Conn, Kendall plays for the women's water polo team and is an intern in the Office of Student Accessibility Services. In her free time, you can find Kendall open-water swimming, baking, or spending time with her family.
Ellie Wagner

Conn Coll '23

Ellie Wagner is a Government major and American Studies minor at Conn College. She is also on the Mock Trial team and a part of The College Voice.
Elizabeth, originally from just outside of Chicago, is a senior graduating early from Connecticut College where she is majoring in English with Psychology and History minors. She has an insatiable appetite for a compelling story and hopes to use that passion to pursue a career in publishing in a big city. If she’s not reading or writing another essay, she is binge-watching a new TV series, scrolling through Pinterest, baking cookies, or hanging out with family and friends.
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