4 Ways To Promote Professional Growth This Summer
Finding an internship or a summer job this year has felt like an impossible task with the COVID-19 pandemic threatening to wreak havoc on everyone’s plans. I started looking for opportunities back in January, and I was so proud of myself for locking down some options by March. Little did I, and thousands of other students, know, the coronavirus was on its way, and my carefully laid plans would be no longer. Luckily, there are tons of resources and alternative opportunities out there that can give students the skilled work experiences they want.
Find skilled volunteering opportunities.
It is important to distinguish between a “skilled” and “unskilled” volunteer opportunity. An unskilled opportunity might look like going out and picking up trash with an environmental organization, whereas a skilled opportunity could be offering to help with their social media accounts or contribute to their blog. Organizations all over the world still need help, even though we’re going into a recession. Some internship programs have shut down due to the pandemic, but plenty of companies are still willing to take on unpaid interns or volunteers.
If you have a field you’re hoping to learn more about, try reaching out to companies that have caught your eye (especially startups) and explaining who you are and what you can provide them.
If you have a field you’re hoping to learn more about, try reaching out to companies that have caught your eye (especially startups) and explaining who you are and what you can provide them. Many places like to help students, and they will be likely to bring you onto the team if you show initiative and prove why you will be an asset. Working for non-profits and community organizations in departments you have an interest in can be a great way to get your feet wet this summer without the company having to commit to a full internship program.
Start a personal project.
Do you have a book you’ve been meaning to write? An online course that has caught your eye? How about a blog where you can talk about your passion for smoothies? There are low-cost options all over the internet; now is the perfect time to pursue these interests.
Projects are often good additions to a resume, especially since they can be indicators of someone’s ability to take initiative, dedication to their own development, and a commitment to learning. Many of the skills you use for a personal project are transferable to an internship or job later on. Coursera, Skillshare, and LinkedIn Learning all provide opportunities to learn more about all sorts of topics.
Get any job you can find…then mold it to meet your goals.
While companies you may have originally wanted to work for are no longer hiring, there are still places hiring. Think grocery stores, restaurants, and delivery services. In addition to making a little money, you can make it about your interests by offering to take on new challenges outside your responsibilities.
In addition to making a little money, you can make it about your interests by offering to take on new challenges outside your responsibilities.
For example, if you started working at a local restaurant and you are interested in exploring marketing, you could ask your supervisor or coworkers about the advertising/marketing department and offer your help. Maybe this restaurant has no social media accounts, or their website is lacking—that would be a perfect opportunity for you to pitch in. It is all about being creative and looking for opportunities. Employers typically appreciate willingness and eagerness to contribute at any level.
Explore the world of micro-internships.
There’s a new trend in the world of professional development: micro-internships. Micro-internships are usually short-term projects that companies hire students or recent graduates to complete. This provides companies with an efficient way to “test drive” prospective employees while also giving students an opportunity to complete paid work without being tied down.
Parker Dewey is a fairly new website where students can make a profile and then search for micro-internships in their field. To complete a micro-internship, you must send in an application through the website. The application is short—it consists of two basic “Why do you want to work with us?” questions, and then you have to attach your resume. Micro-internships are perfect for students who might not consistently have time to work.
The most important thing you can do for your future during this summer is just something. Whether that is a part-time job, project, or volunteering, your future employers will be impressed that you were dedicated to your future in a time of such chaos and uncertainty. The internet is a vast place teeming with opportunities. Indeed.com, LinkedIn, and your school’s career center are all good resources that can be used to locate opportunities; however, it is important not to overlook signs posted in your town. In more rural areas, it is typical for businesses to not post their openings online. By being resourceful, creative, and determined, students hoping to learn new skills and develop themselves professionally will have no shortage of opportunities even in the COVID-19 era.
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