Coffee House employee grabbing a muffin with tongs

Leverage your summer experience

As students wrap up this year of constant change, many will finish finals this week and say, “I am too late for a summer job or internship!” Fortunately, there are many ways for students to leverage the next 10-12 weeks of break for professional development opportunities.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2022 survey of employers, evidence of problem-solving skills tops the list of what employers are looking for on a resume of a recent graduate. This is followed closely by analytical/quantitative skills, ability to work in a team, written communication skills, and initiative. These top skills can all be developed by summer employment opportunities!

Food Service roles are a great way to develop problem solving and teamwork skills. As the first point of contact for customers, often cashiers are tasked with solving problems with orders, answering questions about products, making suggestions for customers, and determining when they should involve a supervisor. Additionally, many food service locations provide the opportunity to work with colleagues in a fast-paced environment. This is a great way to develop examples of working as a team for future interviews!

Caregiving roles are another way to leverage summer experiences to build sought-after skills. For example, as a caregiver for children, a person can demonstrate initiative by anticipating the child’s needs and creating activities to prevent behavior challenges. Particularly for young children, a childcare provider will utilize strong problem solving techniques in determining how to address behavior cues and discomfort. Initiative and problem-solving are two of the many transferable skills that a student can develop through caregiving experiences.

Retail opportunities have the potential to enable students to develop quantitative and written communication skills this summer in addition to other transferable skills. For example, working with merchandise, stocking shelves, and inventory management require strong attention to detail and ability to work with spreadsheets. When inventory is inaccurate, clearly communicating the situation and procedures are a great first step to resolving discrepancies. These skills can later be applied to research opportunities and on campus jobs once students return to campus!

The Internship and Career Center is here to support students throughout the summer with remote and in-person career advising options, a plethora of short videos to get started on application materials, Document Review to provide feedback on application materials, and our online job board– Handshake!

Therefore, if your student ends the quarter without a solid summer plan– don’t worry! They still have time to leverage their summer experience to develop skills that will set them on the right path for their future career!

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