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How to Shape Your Summer Career Plans

Think about your activities during the past semester or year: classes, projects, student orgs, jobs, challenges you overcame. What have you already accomplished? 

Then, identify something you’d like to accomplish in the next year. Maybe you hope to figure out some industries or roles that interest you, or to be ready to apply to internships or jobs during the fall or winter, or to make connections with people in your chosen field. Get specific about your priorities for the summer:

  • What would you like to know more about?
  • What would you like to learn how to do?
  • What do you want to be prepared for?
  • What relationships do you want to form or strengthen?

What are some steps you could take to get from where you are now to where you want to be at the end of the summer?

Still determining your plans for the summer? There are many ways to make headway on your goals, whether or not you’ve secured a formal learning experience.

To discover professional possibilities that interest you, you might...

To explore a pathway in more depth, you might...

  • Conduct an informational interview or shadow someone in your industry of interest
  • Find supportive LSA alums on LSA Connect who are eager to answer your questions
  • Develop skills through virtual work simulation programs such as Forage

To pursue first-hand experience and connections in a given field, you might…

Whether you’re participating in an internship or other formal program, or designing your own plan, you can prepare to engage fully and gain all you can from your summer experience.

Schedule times throughout the summer to take notes on your progress, reassess your goals, and make plans to adapt. Here are some questions to revisit as you move through your experience:

  • What knowledge and skills do you need to succeed in your role or accomplish your goals?
  • What support do you need to succeed? Who can you ask for feedback to help you improve?
  • What are you excited to have accomplished so far? What challenges have you overcome?
  • What opportunities are there to further your learning or achieve more than you planned?

When the summer is over, look back on what you experienced to get a clear picture of what you gained and generate ideas for your next steps:

  • Which of your goals did you meet? Or how did what you achieve differ from what you set out to achieve?
  • How have you grown or changed personally or professionally?
  • What about the environment, tasks, relationships, etc., would you want to have again in the future? What would you want to be different?

Don’t forget to add your experience to your master resume and LinkedIn profile while your memory is fresh.