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Summer vacation starts in a few weeks and that means you’ll have several months where you can get great work experience while making some extra cash. Many students will choose the traditional summer job route like a lifeguard, camp counselor, or waiting tables at a restaurant. Another approach is to consider getting an internship or using this valuable time to gain experience in a field that puts you on track to get your dream job. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Explore Career Options: If you could do anything in the world, what would it be? Do you like to work with kids or animals? Are you strong in math and science? Does a desk job sound like torture when you would rather be in the great outdoors? Take some time to think about the type of work or company that holds the most interest for you. Read up on career choices, talk to your parents or mentor, and look through career sites such as Monster or LinkedIn.

2. Update Your Resume: Make your resume informative and compelling that includes your education and any valid work experiences. Check out these resume samples to get you started. Make sure you also compile a list of professors, advisors, and bosses that you can use as references.

3. Trial Run: When it comes to getting a job, the interview process is crucial. Dressing appropriately for the interview is a no brainer, but it’s worth it to do some extra research on the person and/or company with whom you are interviewing. Enlist a friend to help you practice answering interview questions and check out some great interview tips.

4. Get Organized: Looking for a job requires time, attention to detail, and great follow-up. Locate a place to file all your job search materials (hard and electronic copies). This can include your resume, a cover letter, portfolio, e-mail inquiries, contacts, etc. College transcripts, letters of recommendations, and proper ID (such as license or passport) should also be easy to find.

5. Make a Budget: Internships can be a great learning experience; many do not pay. Figure out how much money you will need during the summer and the upcoming fall semester. If money is tight, try to fit in a part-time internship and still work a part-time job for pay. Check out this back-to-school budget calculator.

Good luck on finding your next gig this summer. If you want more tips, read this.

by JohnH

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