Thursday, May 6, 2010

Summer Vacations and Your Career

As the semester winds down, many of you are probably thinking about how you will spend your summer. Freshmen and sophomores may be looking forward to reconnecting with friends from high school. Juniors might be looking forward to staying here in Milwaukee for the summer. Seniors may very well be preparing for the transition between life as a student and life as a graduate. No matter what your situation, it is important to remember that your career will continue to cultivate itself even while you are away from campus.

We all wish that we could return to the summers when we had total freedom and zero responsibility. Unless you are independently wealthy (and if so, we always accept donations!), odds are that you will be looking for work somewhere, whether it is full-time, part-time, an internship, or even volunteering. Seek something out that you will enjoy. You will always perform better in a setting where you are excited about your tasks and can show that enthusiasm. Your co-workers will notice, and you will be making a positive impression on the people that may be your references for your next job.

Additionally, remember that while you are out having fun over the summer (and you should still do that), talk to anyone that you can. If you are working at Summerfest selling a particular product that Milwaukee may or may not be well-known for, make small talk with your customers and find out what they do in the real world. Who knows, you may be talking to someone who is doing exactly what you ultimately want to do. Effective connections are consistently made in non-traditional settings. I was recently on an airplane and overheard a new business deal being brokered by two people that were previously strangers, but just happened to work in areas that had considerable synergy.

Summer vacation is a great break from the stresses of school. Just remember, your career never stops evolving, so make the most of your break through experience and networking while enjoying the vacation as well!

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