Tips on Maximizing the Summer for Your Career

Remember the feeling of back in elementary school when you would rush home after the last day of school? That feeling of joy, happiness, and relief that school is over; and you start to think about hanging out with friends, playing video games, and jumping into the pool? The best thing about summer break was the amount of time you get to do whatever you want. Now that you are a student at the Foster School of Business, summer can be a great time to learn, network, and prepare yourself for your career. My name is Bill Li, I am a senior studying Finance and a peer coach at Foster Career Services. I am interning at Cascadia Capital this summer as an investment banking summer analyst. I am very excited to share some tips on how to best maximize your summer and take advantage of the time that you have.

Before I get started, I wanted to share that the Foster Career Services office is open throughout the year, and that means during the summer as well. This means that you will be able to sign up for 30 min coaching appointments with our career coaches. They are always happy to answer any questions that you may have for just about anything career related. If you have any questions about the post or anything else, please sign up for a coaching appointment!

Additionally, this blog post includes several links to videos and content that live exclusively on the Foster Undergraduate Canvas page. Be sure to tune into the Canvas page for career resources and announcements.

5 Tips on How to Maximize Your Summer

  1. Create and update your Resume

No matter when in your career, you will always need a resume to apply for positions you are interested in. The resume is a great place for you to highlight your experiences and accomplishments. This will also be one, if not the first thing, that employers will look at when evaluating your job application. A couple of great resources that we have at Foster is the Foster Resume Template & Foster Resume Guide. These resources are a great place to get started with your resume and you can fill in all the information listed on the template. You can also watch our short video that the peer coaches created to give you some more tips on how to prepare your resume based on employer feedback.

  1. Create and update your LinkedIn & Handshake Profiles

Next, like your resume, your LinkedIn & Handshake profiles will be crucial when it comes to networking and recruiting. This is another place for you to showcase your experiences and to communicate with recruiters and professionals. The peer coaches created two great short videos to help you navigate these platforms. One video is about how to create these profiles and the other video is about how to utilize Handshake and LinkedIn. You can also access the Foster Undergraduates Canvas page to view more resources such as worksheets and webinars!

  1. Network, Network, Network

Networking refers to reaching out to alumni, recruiters, or any professionals to build a connection. This can be done by reaching out to them over email, through LinkedIn, or from your current connections. After reaching out, you can then schedule a Zoom meeting or phone call with the other person to learn more about their experiences and make genuine connections. Our center has many resources to help you including another short video, worksheets, and more. There is also a new platform called Husky Landing– think of it as a LinkedIn for only UW alumni and students

If I had to choose one element that helped me the most when I was recruiting, I would choose networking. I completed Zoom chats and phone calls with more than 10 people at Cascadia Capital before I started interviewing with the firm. Once many of them knew who I was, this made my application more personal and helped me stand out. During the interview, I also leveraged these informational interviews and told them that I already learned about the culture at Cascadia and that I would be a good fit.

  1. Complete Online Courses & Certificates 

Ever since the start of the pandemic, there has been a boom in the number of online courses and certifications available. The University of Washington has collaborated with LinkedIn Learning and made all the courses available for free. There are many courses, which include technical courses like Excel, or soft skill building like presentation skills. Our career coaches curated a list of courses that are relevant for Foster students. No matter what you want to practice, there will be a LinkedIn Learning course available for you. Another amazing course is the Foster Excel Credential. This course is available for all Foster Students on Canvas and it looks great on your resume.

  1. Start Browsing for Jobs/Internships and Events

Finally, the last tip that I want to share with you is to start browsing for internships or full-time roles and career events. It is never too early to start looking and preparing for these applications. If you are looking for positions in Finance, Accounting, or Consulting, these positions all have an early recruiting timeline. This means that some firms may start to interview and give out offers as early as July and August. To not miss out on these opportunities, you want to start looking and make sure that your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn/Handshake are updated. Check out this recruiter panel from the Early Recruiting Summit that Foster Career Services offered this quarter along with a student panel that shares tips on how to maximize your summer.

When I was still recruiting, I constantly kept up with the events posted on Handshake. It was only through these opportunities that I had a chance to meet with the employers at Industry Focused Nights and other amazing employer-led events. I also attended many Foster Career Services events to practice my interviewing skills and sharpen my resume.  Be on the lookout for communication from Foster Career Services about career prep events that will be offered prior to the start of Fall quarter.

Whenever I think about summer, the first thing that comes to mind is always traveling with my family and relaxing. However, in recent years, I also remember sending lots of emails and LinkedIn invites to professionals. Summer is a great time to get ahead of the competition and start to prepare for your career. As students, we have been in school for more than half of our life and up until now we only had to succeed in school. However, now is time to start thinking one step beyond being a student and start to navigate your future careers. I wish you all the best of luck and have a great summer!

Post Written By: Bill Li, Student Peer Coach