No Summer Plan? No Problem

Find a Mentor

Of course, we have to start this list by highlighting our favorite professional development activity: mentorship!

  • Start by identifying what you want out of the mentorship. Don’t get serious with your search until you have a clear picture of what you’re looking for!
  • Be proactive and put yourself in situations where you can find a mentor. This can mean going to networking events, or just taking the time dive into your LinkedIn connections and see who you can reconnect with.

Online classes and remote boot camps

Even in summer, the learning doesn’t have to stop!

DIY

Home décor and upcycled clothing are not the only things you can DIY — you can also work on your own personal project that lets you practice your skills and add to your portfolio.

Volunteer

For many of us, volunteering is the first early step towards internships and jobs.

Shadow someone

While the name might suggest otherwise, this isn’t some devious career hack — instead, it’s a pretty solid option to use once you’ve narrowed down your career options.

Conduct informational interviews

Sometimes, to become the interviewee, you first have to be the interviewer.

  • What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
  • If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? If not, what would you change?
  • Is there something that surprised you about your role when you first started?
  • What are some of the biggest challenges you face day-to-day?

Networking

Networking has become a buzzword that you may associate with faint memories of crowded job fairs and awkward conversations with your uncle’s cousin’s boss…but it’s much more fun and enriching if you do it your way.

  • Personalize your invitations to connect with a reminder of how you know each other, a common interest, etc
  • Stay in contact with people in your network, even if it’s just commenting on their LinkedIn posts or tagging them when you share information they would find interesting.
  • Keep expanding outward. Ask your connections to introduce you to their connections, and so forth. When you’re early in your career, you never know who might wind up being a valuable source of info or the way into your dream organization!

Review your skills

The job market is always evolving, but so are you.

  • What strengths do you have? Are there any that you want to gain?
  • What weaknesses do you want to overcome?
  • What opportunities do you have to take action? What do you have the most control over?
  • What threats stand in your way?
  • Public speaking
  • Active listening
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Time management
  • Conflict management and resolution
  • Growth mindset
  • Adaptability
  • Creativity
  • Written communication
  • Verbal communication
  • Empathy
  • Negotiation

Build your personal brand

We are all familiar with many well-known brands (ever heard of Opal? 😉)…but have you thought about your brand?

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Opal App

Hey. 👋 Good to see you. We are #Opal, a mobile app that matches college students with working professionals for mentorship. https://www.opal.community/