4 Hot Summer Tips for Rising College Juniors
Time flies during college. Are you finding yourself halfway through already? If so you are probably a rising junior. This is the second most important summer of your college career. Some college seniors receive job offers in the fall of senior year. You should be planning NOW on how to be putting yourself in the best possible position for next year.
Here are some hot tips to consider now:
# 1: Evaluate your current summer:
Honestly evaluate your summer. Are you working at an internship that is meaningful work and related to your core interests and values? If yes skip to tip # 2. If not, what can you do to add in some relevant work experience this summer? It’s not too late if you are motivated and creative. Perhaps you can add a college-level work experience to a summer job if your boss is amenable. Is there a project you can propose to a small business owner that you know? Is there a course you can take to enhance your work skills? Everything you are doing now will be helpful to land the summer internship next year as a rising senior.
#2: Internal Networking at your internship this summer:
Take advantage of your internship this summer. Make sure you are meeting the other managers and leaders in the company. Ask your boss or mentor for suggestions of people you should meet with. The best strategy is to ask for a 20-30 minute meeting for an informational interview. You will be the one asking questions such as: How did you get started in this industry and in this company? Where are the biggest opportunities for college grads in this industry? What ideas do you have for me as I am entering my junior year in college? Is there someone else that you suggest I meet to learn more? Focus on meeting people to learn from and your network will grow naturally.
#3: Networking at your targeted companies:
Besides your current company, think about the top targeted companies that you are most interested in as a potential post graduation employer. As a college student, this is the very best time to approach your contacts at those companies for an informational interview as described above in tip #2. Choose three companies that meet your industry, functional and geographic criteria. Find your closest contacts and request a brief meeting. Using LinkedIn Advanced Search is often the best way to identify your best contacts. If you focus on alumni from your school, the connection is warmer. Your message via LinkedIn in-mail or email would be something like this:
Dear Ms. Company,
I am a rising junior at Prince William University. I major in English and Comparative Literature. I am very interested in Advertising as a potential future career. I am currently doing research and meeting people in the industry. I am very impressed with what you have accomplished at X Company since graduating from PWU. Would you be willing to meet me for 20-30 minutes and share your industry perspectives and insights? I am available every day after 4 PM if that is convenient, but will happily work around your schedule. I would be very grateful. Sincerely, Jason Jones
4. Follow Up:
This is your real chance to differentiate yourself. Follow up with everyone. Let people know you appreciated their time and advice. The very best is a personal handwritten note, but also consider the person you are communicating with. A text or email thank you are also effective. Follow them on Twitter. Connect on LinkedIn with a personalized invitation. Thank them within 24 hours of your meeting. The follow up is not over! Keep a list of your new network contacts and get in touch periodically after you go back to school to stay fresh in their mind.
Rising Juniors are in a great position NOW to make a big impact on their future careers. Take those dog days of summer and incorporate these 4 hot tips.
What other plans do you have as a rising junior?