Alex Austin is a Graduate Administrative Associate with Engineering Career Services.
With spring semester winding down, do your summer plans seem in flux? If you don’t have internship or co-op plans there are still valuable ways to spend your time. Try these things to build not only your resume, but also insight into your field of interest.
Spend your time networking. Summer can be a great time to reach out to professionals in your field and ask them about their experiences. Using LinkedIn, search for job titles you might be interested in, companies you would want to work for, or locations where you would like to end up. Then connect with individuals and ask if they have time for an informational interview (either in-person or over the phone). Use this time to ask about what it’s like to work in the industry, learn more about the company, get advice for how to best market yourself, and make valuable connections.
Find projects that are relevant to your major that you can work on to improve your resume. These can be projects with professors, with a group of friends, or on your own. Projects can be a great way to show your passion and initiative on your resume, as well as learning new skills that you could apply to future engineering experiences. Consider make-a-thons, hack-a-thons, innovate-o-thons, and other department or company sponsored opportunities that put your problem solving skills to the test. Or create your own project! Need a boost? Check out some of Idea Foundry’s classes and meet-ups right here in Columbus.
Research can be a great way to continue developing your engineering abilities, as well as learning more about your field. Talk with professors about potential opportunities they know about in research departments. Ask not only about research they may be doing, but also if they have any colleagues who are doing research and could use more people. Check out https://engineering.osu.edu/undergraduate/research to learn about how to propose your own research opportunities and find out all you need to know about the research process at Ohio State.
Volunteerism helps show employers your passion and willingness to participate in community service. Many local organizations even have engineering relevant volunteer opportunities! Civil engineering students could consider Habitat for Humanity and computer science students might be interested in technical assistance or app/ website development for a local non-profit.
Just because a job isn’t engineering related, doesn’t mean that it is not worthwhile. Summer jobs are a great way to gain transferable skills (leadership, time management, organization, etc.) that look great on a resume. Ask for projects and assignments that help stretch you to learn new skills and become a stronger applicant in the future.
Talking with companies and people in your area about opportunities to observe what a day at work looks like is a great way to learn more about the company and industry, while also networking and setting yourself up as a good applicant in the future. Use LinkedIn or reach out to your network to create these opportunities throughout the summer.
“It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.” – Edward de Bono