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6 Tips For Kick-Starting Your Career This Summer

What plans do you have for your summer vacation? Will you be working on your tan or enjoying the air-conditioning at the mall? These activities might be fun, but they won't help you get ahead. Related: How To Nab A Summer Internship In 4 Months Or Less Instead of the traditional summer activities, try being more proactive this season to jump start your career. Here are some tips for kick-starting your career this summer:

1. Wake Up Early

The first rule for having a proactive summer is to get out of bed. It sounds simple, but you'll be surprised at how many hours students lose lolling about in bed over their summer break. Setting your alarm to maintain your regular routine will ensure you don't waste time that could otherwise be used pursuing career-advancing activities and having fun. Just think how much you'll get done with a few hours head-start on your peers each day. Experts even suggest that you'll be more productive throughout your day because you won't want to waste that early morning advantage.

2. Take On Volunteer Work

Taking on volunteer work is another valuable way to spend your summer vacation. Some students may find volunteer opportunities that naturally fit with their career aspirations. For example, you may like to volunteer in an old people's home or hospice if you want to become a nurse. However, volunteering can also give you an opportunity to pursue a passion, like helping people with learning disabilities to read or tending to animals in a wildlife sanctuary. Studies suggest that no matter what volunteering position you pursue, it'll increase your chances of finding employment by 27%. That makes it much more productive than the bulk of summer activities.

3. Get A Summer Job

Even a summer job that's unrelated to your desired career can be valuable. As you look for a job, you'll gain interview skills and learn how to cope with rejection. Once you land a summer position, you'll learn how to deal with the public, take on responsibility, and be accountable to others. Earning a paycheck, no matter how small, will also help you become more financially responsible. A summer job will also help pad out your resume. Employers tend to look favorably on students who take on these positions, as less than half of Americans aged between 16 and 24 have the drive to find employment over summer.

4. Start Freelancing

Your summer vacation gives you the ideal opportunity to get a freelance business off the ground. Consider what skills you have and start marketing them to potential clients. Writing, designing, translating, and computer programming are all talents ideally suited to freelancing. Several websites also showcase job opportunities for freelance workers. Many feature short-term opportunities that are ideal for students. Taking on these roles will help you beef up your resume, gain experience, and build important business relationships.

5. Get An Internship

Many leading companies offer internships to students on their summer vacations. These positions don't often pay well, but they'll help beef up your resume and give you some insight into your dream career. You might become even more passionate about your career direction or decide that your chosen career path isn't for you. Whatever the case, you'll be able to apply what you've learned at school to real-world situations and make valuable connections. The company you're interning for will probably provide you with a reference, and you might even get a job offer out of it.

6. Shop For A Professional Wardrobe

Even shopping at the mall can be productive if you put your time to good use. Rather than searching for another pair of skinny jeans or a cute pair of sunglasses, keep your eyes peeled for a great professional wardrobe. According to the summer internship infographic on CampusBooks.com, dressing professionally is one of five key rules that all interns should adhere to. Interns should follow the dress codes of their new companies. That often means blouses and skirts for the girls and suits or shirts and trousers for boys. The clothes should be conservative, so don't choose items which hug your figure or show off too much skin. Don't forget about dress shoes; trainers won't cut it in a corporate environment. Don't let another summer pass you by. Put your free time to good use and get a jumpstart on your career this season.

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