No Internship? No Problem!

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Finals are over.  You’re ready to go home for the summer and enjoy a well-deserved break. You might be enrolled in summer classes (in that case, good luck), but most college students go home for the summer. But after a week or two of catching up with old friends and family, visiting nostalgic parts of your hometown, and Netflixing all day just because you can, you start to wonder: How am I going to make this summer productive?

You may think that the obvious answer is some sort of summer job or internship, which can be really helpful for your future career or just a way to earn some extra cash.  But don’t you have to start planning in March or something to get a good one?  You probably remember one or two friends  who were applying for internships during midterms while you were thinking, “I have so much time left, so no worries . . .” Well, now summer is here.  Internships can be competitive at the undergrad level since most relevant internships require more than a bachelor’s.  Furthermore, if you’ve already procrastinated this much, your shots are slim to none.

However, not all hope is lost!  It does help to plan ahead, but that doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to a completely unproductive summer.

Start Looking Now!

Just because it’s possible to get a late start doesn’t mean that you want to wait forever.  Internships are probably already filled, so you’re better off looking for a job. College tends to get out before high school, so if you’re seeking a traditional summer job (such as waitressing, lifeguarding, or landscaping) to save some money, make sure you find and apply for those jobs before the high school kids.  Also, you only have a couple of weeks to even work this job, so there’s no time to waste.

Make sure you utilize all the tools at your disposal, including online job postings and scanning the town for signs — but you want to mostly rely on connections.  It’s no surprise to anyone that it’s not what you know, but who you know.

Your biggest disadvantage is that you’re probably only looking for summer work, and employers usually don’t want to waste resources training someone who is going to leave anyway.  You’ll be best off targeting jobs that dwindle come fall, like summer tourism jobs, all-day babysitting gigs, or landscaping.

Apply with Consideration

Additionally, you probably know to tailor your resume to every job, but many people completely forget a cover letter.  A cover letter can show that you really put in the extra effort to get to know the company, not to mention that you can form a coherent sentence.  That’ll be an employer’s first impression of you, so make sure that it is on point.  

Even if you have an “in” with some connections, apply anyway.  Doing so shows that you take it seriously and that you are qualified to do the job.  This might not apply if it’s an extremely informal setting, but keep this mind when pursuing jobs through the people you know.  Generally, the farther removed the employer is from you, the more likely you’ll need to submit a formal resume.  You’ll appear much more competent and professional.

Put in the Effort

It can be tempting to check out as the months wear on, especially if this isn’t exactly your dream job.  However, keep in mind that if you do well, you can reapply each year and use this as a potential recurring summer employment or even a first full-time job to help you get on your feet once you graduate.  Having consistent employment, even if it is broken up by periods of school, will show later employers that you were the type of employee to get rehired multiple times.  

Try to focus less on the fact that you’re working and more on the perks that the position gives you.  Working outside lets you enjoy the sun’s rays, waitressing means making a lot of connections, and retail can offer you some great discounts!  School will start up again soon, and you’ll wish that you were back in your summer job in no time.

What if You Can’t Find a Job?

This is a depressing reality for a lot of college students.  Even graduates are having a tough time finding jobs, let alone those still attending.  If you don’t have a diploma yet, it can make it difficult to get a more prestigious job, but minimum-wage jobs might go to high school kids before you.  If you’re stuck in a weird stage of unemployment, but need to save for next year, it’s still not hopeless.

The gig economy has been growing in recent years, and there’s no reason you can’t get in on that too.  Freelance writers, theater techies, musicians, coders, dog walkers . . . You can profit from your efforts during your preferred hours, working whatever jobs you pick.  There is an increased personal responsibility here, but the flexibility is a major perk.  Plus, it can still signal to future employers that you’re not afraid to carve out your own path.  Freelancing requires keeping track of invoices, client needs, and even your taxes.  These are great business skills regardless of your major or future job.

Summer jobs can be grueling, but they add experience to your resume and stop you from becoming an unproductive blob.  There’s nothing wrong with a little vacation, but you can have fun and be productive at the same time (though you may have to cancel your Netflix subscription for that to be truly possible).  Whether your summer jobs help with your career or just get you through to next year, it can be an extremely valuable experience.  

10 Tech Tools Every College Kid Needs

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Slow-running computers with bulky headphones and outdated programs are not going to help you succeed. Having the right kind of technology on your side can make or break you – especially during your first year of college. Whether it’s from making life in the dorms a little bit more bearable, or ramping up your productivity in major ways, these are the tech tools every college kid needs!

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  1. Noise-Canceling Headphones

Picture this: it’s your first night in the dorm rooms. You’re crazy excited, your roommate seems pretty awesome, and your bed is surprisingly comfortable. But as soon as the lights go out, you hear it — the loud, piercing snore of your roommate. What are you going to do? That’s where noise-canceling headphones come in. Whether you’re trying to get some sleep or need a bit of extra concentration while at the library, having the ability to drown out sounds is a blessing in itself.

  1. Productivity Software

We’re all guilty of putting something off to the last minute or falling trap to a Facebook distraction. If you find yourself way behind, check out apps like StayFocused, you can download on your computer that block out social media for certain periods of time or until you complete a task.

 

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  1. Digital Scheduler

Those ugly, plain day planners are out and your phone is in! By switching to a digital scheduler or planner, you can have all the information you need at the touch of your fingers. With so many to choose from, you can find one that matches your style and busy schedule needs. Or you can opt for a basic, no non-sense program like Tomorrow.Do, which gives you a short-term to-do list synced to your devices.

  1. Group Project Organizer

What if it’s not just your day that needs organizing? If you’re working with a group on a project, managing everything and keeping track of who does what or certain milestones can be an even bigger challenge. Set up your group using sharable tech such as Google Drive’s Docs, Sheets, and Presentations. Or, go even higher tech with more options like chatting abilities and project management with free-to-use Evernote or pay-to-use Basecamp.

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Digital Planners have come a long way!

 

  1. Laptop Theft Protection

Laptop thefts are a reality even on the safest of campuses. If you plan to use your expensive computer outside your locked dorm room, arm yourself with a laptop lock. These locks hook into your computer’s USB or charger ports and then has a cable that wraps around a leg of a desk or stationed table. For the lower price, it certainly will give you peace of mind.

  1. Notetaker

Maybe you’re a traditionalist who just loves to get their hands in everything, or maybe you’re a tactile learner who remembers information best when you are scribbling notes down. Either way, using a laptop to take notes is probably not helping you remember that biology lecture any better. That’s where a notetaking pen comes in! These digital pens work with apps on your touchscreen laptop or tablet to give you the real experience of notetaking — just like you did in grade and high school. You’ve got to love apps that make something you love that much better and easier!

 

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