University Career Center

Image of journals for keeping track or organizing

Whether you are taking a trip, staying close to home, interning, or taking classes, there are many simple things you can be doing to stay on track with your career plans this summer. You may just be starting to think about your post-college plans or already have a good idea. Regardless of where you are in the process, take advantage of your summer months. These 10 steps will help you stay focused this summer. 

  1. Reflect on past experiences. Consider starting a journal, mind map, or talk through your experiences with a friend. What types of projects do you enjoy? What are your favorite roles? Where do you excel? When do you feel most engaged? This is a good starting point to identify potential fields of interest.
  2. Take an assessment. After you've reflected on your experience, consider resources like to take inventory of your career interests. University of Michigan students also have access to CareerCruising free of charge. This can be a great way to help you clarify your direction or identify some fields to look at more deeply. 
  3. Research fields of interest using online and print resources. There are many ways to do this. Google is always a great place to start. You might find helpful articles, blogs, professional organizations, or videos on YouTube about your field/s of interest. Students have also found Vault Online Library to be helpful.
  4. Become LinkedIn savvy. LinkedIn is one of the most important tools to be aware of as a college student. This is the professional social network and gives you immediate access to alumni connections, companies, potential contacts, and much more. Check out their resources for students here to learn about LinkedIn.
  5. Start having conversations. One of the best ways to learn about career and potential job prospects is to talk with individuals currently working in that field. This is called "informational interviewing." An informational interview may be conducted in person or via the phone to help you gain knowledge about your field/s of interest. Whether you are still exploring and want to learn more basic information about a particular field, or if you have decided on a field or occupation and are looking for tips on job searching, an informational interview is a fantastic way to accomplish either.
  6. Job shadow someone in your field/s of interest. Job shadowing is a short-term experience that can last an hour or more and allows you to learn about careers or occupations that interest you. It can help you see first-hand what the work might be like. Consider friends, alumni, relatives, or friends of friends.
  7. Consider doing an independent project or volunteering with a local organization. If you don't have time to do a full internship but would still like more exposure to your field/s of interest, then it might be a good idea to do an independent project or volunteer your time to learn more. 
  8. Familiarize yourself with our new recruiting system Handshake. Handshake is a free service for all UM Ann Arbor degree-seeking students and recent graduates. Use Handshake to stay connected as you explore career options and search for jobs/internships. 
  9. Connect or follow the Career Center on social media. We actively update our TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook with helpful tips, articles, and event information to keep you in the know. 
  10. Schedule an appointment to meet with a career coach virtually, in person, or via the phone. Need help planning or strategizing, confused about your next steps, not sure what you are interested in, want to discuss the tips in this article, curious about your resume or cover letter? We are open all summer and would love to talk with students and recent graduates about your time at Michigan and beyond. Schedule an appointment online today!

Photo Credit: Natasha Mileshina CC BY 2.0