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The term is over and you can finally let your hair down and enjoy your well-deserved freedom. Nothing wrong with having a bit of fun during the summer, but doesn’t it feel somewhat idle to spend the best years of your life doing nothing? Many grads regret not doing more for their professional and personal growth during their college years. Learn from their mistakes and work to improve yourself!
Imagine you want to apply for a job after you graduate. How do you want to impress the hiring manager? You need to bring some value to the table. Even though there are plenty of graduate or entry-level jobs, fresh graduates who already have some work experience or skills beyond the college education are much more valued than those who spent their summers drinking beer and sunbathing.
Start building your work experience while you’re still in college and learn things they don’t teach you at school. You’ll see it paid off once you start looking for a full-time job.
Here are some inspirations for you on how to spend your summer productively. And keep in mind, working on improving yourself doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your summer!
1. Start a blog
If you’re passionate about something, may it be traveling, cooking, politics, philosophy, fashion or beauty, why not start a blog? It doesn’t even have to be a super successful blog. Think of it as a perfect place to store your thoughts and practice your writing skills. Also, it’s a great way to build up your portfolio. You can create your personal professional website and link it to your blog. It’s a great way to connect with future employers and showcase your writing portfolio in one place.
2. Be a freelance writer
Did you know that there are plenty of websites that will pay you for writing content? If you’re a talented writer or aiming to find a job as a content writer or copywriter in the future, try signing up for one of these platforms and start earning your summer money. If you don’t know where to look, we’ve picked these five sites for you:
3. Learn to code
For a young prospective professional, the basics of programming are similar to learning alphabet for a first grader. The big advantage is that it’s that kind of expertise you don’t need to learn at uni. You can learn to code either by online courses, self-learning or by attending a summer course that would teach you the basics of programming languages and web design. Try codecademy.com or coursera.org to teach you the essentials. Some courses are for free, some for a couple of bucks, but it’s definitely worth the time and money. If you’re good, you can then teach others or get paid projects on several other websites, such as crew.co, simplilearn.com or toptal.com.
4. Read books that will make you smarter
If you want to gain some extra wisdom, opening a book is always a good idea. There are plenty of great self-improvement books in which you learn things they don’t teach you at college. Here are must-read books we recommend.
- Jim Collins – Good to Great
- Daniel H. Pink – Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
- Seth Godin – Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?: And Other Provocations
- Jason Fried – Rework
- Robin Sharma – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
- John C. Maxwell – Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones For Success
- Peter Thiel – Zero to One
- Timothy Ferris – Four Hour Work Week
- Napoleon Hill – Think and Grow Rich
- Charles Duhigg – The Power of Habit
You’re welcome 🙂
5. Make websites
If you’re already skilled in HTML, you can create your own stunning website and turn it into your online resume or a portfolio page. And if you’re really good you can advertise your skills and make websites for other people or companies. It’s a great way to improve your skills and you’ll earn some really good money, too.
6. Be a photographer
With the amount of online content that currently runs on the internet, stock photos will always be in high demand. If you love photography and you’re good at it, summer is a great time for you to make some money taking pictures. There are plenty of websites that provide beautiful royalty-free photos, where you can sign up as a freelance photographer and then sell your photographs. Try stocksy.com, fotolia.com, lobster.media, or 500px.com.
7. Work outdoors
If you want to both enjoy the sun and get a bit of pocket money, what’s better than an outdoor job? There are plenty of possibilities – you can work as a lifeguard at the beach or a pool, register to become a tour guide, look for jobs in a national park or at the farm. You may think this sort of job won’t bring you any other benefit aside from money but this is not entirely true. Many successful people started out as manual labourers and all agree that these jobs sometimes teach you more about life and work than white collar jobs.
8. Volunteer for an NGO
You can learn loads of interesting stuff and acquire plenty of useful skills at non-governmental organisations. If you’re studying humanities or have an interest in socio-political causes, volunteering at an NGO can be a great stepping stone for you. More than that, volunteering is a great way to boost your resume. Many hiring managers say they prefer candidates who have experience in volunteering for people who are willing to give time for a good cause for no pay appear conscientious and dedicated.
9. Get a summer internship
If you already have a clear path you want to take in your future career, a summer internship at a company that’s close to your area of interest is a great idea. You typically need to apply for a summer internship months before it starts, so it might already be too late at this point, but you can still look around for available internship opportunities. Even you don’t find an advertised internship offer at the company you want to work for, give it a go and email them – you might have a luck on your side.
10. Get a job at the campus
Even in the summer, university campuses don’t close and there’s a lot of work to be done prior to the start of the new academic year. Contact your uni student services department or student union and they might welcome a helping hand. If you’re keen on getting academic experience, you can ask to work in the labs or assist university researchers.
11. Take an intensive language course
The more languages you know, the more you are human they say. Be more human and learn another language. Bilingual or multilingual people are always more valued with the hiring managers. Summer is a great time to invest in your language versatility. If you want to travel a bit too, think about spending your summer in a foreign country. After all, the best way to learn a language is to live where people around you speak it.
12. Be a tutor
If you’ve already mastered a certain area of expertise, may it be maths, languages, programming, etc., why not pass your knowledge and skills on and help other kids improve? ? Tutoring is a popular way of earning some extra money. A big advantage is that you’re the boss of your time, money and the number of tutees. You don’t necessarily need to do one-on-one personal sessions. You can do tutoring via Skype or online. Try skillshare.com, coach.me, savvy.is, or udemy.com and become an online teacher.
13. Take care of little creatures
And the little creatures will pay you back with their love and gratitude. If you’re a caring type, love children or animals, try babysitting, pet sitting or dog walking. It’s fun and aside from extra money, you’ll get a great satisfying feeling. You won’t probably learn anything new, but it’ll definitely boost your personal development.