Summer internships are one of the most valuable ways to gain professional experience to put on your resume. However, most internships end a few weeks before the fall semester starts. It’s tempting to turn into a couch potato during those final summer days, catching up on your television shows and not getting up from the couch except to get more snacks.
However, this time off could be the perfect opportunity to catch up on some professional aspects of life. Don’t worry – you’ll still have plenty of time for lethargy.
1. Update your social media information
Are you starting a new internship or job in the fall? Spend an hour or so updating your Facebook employment information, your Twitter bio, your LinkedIn status and any other social media profiles with this new job news.
2. Jump start on fundraising for Conference or other professional events
The PRSSA 2012 National Conference is just around the corner. If you want to go but don’t think you can foot the bill, there are several ways to raise funds to cover your expenses for an event like this. Writing letters to your network is a good place to start. Make a list of individuals or companies that you believe would invest in your success and write them a personal letter requesting a donation. Make sure that the letter is sincere and gratuitous – generic letters will seem thoughtless, and the recipient will be less likely to contribute. Writing personal requests can be time-consuming, but it will be worth it when you can now afford to attend professional development events.
3. Write thank-you cards
Did someone donate to your fundraising effort or help you acquire a job or internship? Be sure to thank him or her with a handwritten card. It’s also thoughtful to write a card to the employers from your summer internship, taking care to point out specific skills you learned from them. This is a great way to maintain connections and show you truly appreciate their guidance.
4. Connect with other students or new professionals
Instead of yelling at your TV during a reality show or sports game, strike up a conversation with a peer or professional in the social media world. This type of interaction will expose you to current events, new perspectives on the public relations industry and a valuable professional connection. Unlike your favorite reality TV star, these connections will actually reply to you.
It can be appealing to spend those last few weeks on your couch. Try dragging yourself out of bed and putting yourself in professional mode for at least a few hours a day – you won’t regret it.
About the blogger
This is a guest post by Eva McKnight, a senior communication arts major at Anderson University (Ind.). As a student at AU, she served as an account manager for Fifth Street CommunicationsTM, AU’s student-staffed public relations firm, and the public relations director for the university’s PRSSA Chapter. McKnight will return to Fifth Street CommunicationsTM this fall as the student director and as the vice president of PRSSA@AU.
What career-building tips do you have for those lazy summer days?