5 tips to make your summer count

We hope that you’re getting ready for a rejuvenating summer, whether you’re preparing for a UROP, interning, volunteering, or taking a break.

Whatever your summer plans, consider these five simple but helpful tips:

1. Whatever the structure of your summer, there are opportunities to enhance your skills

If you have a summer experience:

At the beginning of your experience, ask your research or internship supervisor about their preferred form of communication when you have questions — use that structure to ask for help when you need it! If your experience is completely remote, learn 6 ways to make the most of a remote internship.

If you finish a project early, ask your supervisors if there are other ways you can help.

Keep track of key accomplishments so you can add them to your resume or CV.

If you’re a rising senior, your internship can lead to a full-time offer. Reflect on your values, interests, and goals. Observe the organization’s culture and gather information about the industry so you make an informed decision.

If your summer is less structured:

Apply for a student leadership position within CAPD! We’re seeking peer career advisors, career exploration leaders, and much more. 

Build your skills with free online courses like Coursera or EdX, or by pursuing an independent project you can add to your portfolio or resume.

Connect with local companies, other PIs, or alums doing interesting work and propose a project you would like to help with. Reach out to a Career Advisor for feedback on how to structure this outreach.

Make a list of your new projects, skills, accomplishments, and experiences over the summer. Remember, they don’t have to be tied to a paid position – extracurricular and volunteer experience is valuable too! At the end of each week, document specific accomplishments or skills developed to include in your resume, CV, or graduate school personal statements.

2. Plan ahead to secure housing and save money

If you have an internship or other experience in another city, let the employer know that you’re new to the area and ask about resources available to help with housing and commuting. Some companies have a list of housing options or will connect you with interns seeking a roommate.

If it’s expensive to live in that geographic area and you might not be able to afford the cost, ask the employer what some possible arrangements might be.

Want advice for having these conversations? Reach out to a CAPD Career Advisor.

Using MIT’s Alumni Directory, find alums in the local area and ask them for tips to find local housing.

Create a budget using this template! SFS’s basic budgeting resources also helps you plan how to use your internship funds to help pay the cost for MIT.

For additional help, schedule a 1:1 appointment to discuss your internship budget by e-mailing sfs-fin-ed@mit.edu

Other resources: Paycheckcity.com (estimates pay after taxes) or Best Places Cost of Living Calculator.

3. Build meaningful connections

If you have an internship, schedule in person or virtual coffee chats with people across the organization. Start with staff you work with, then ask for suggestions of others to outreach. These conversations are opportunities to learn about different career paths and cultivate mentors. 

Explore careers through informational interviews. You can start by using Advisors Hub & Infinite Connection Alumni Directory to connect with MIT alums. 

Use LinkedIn to connect and stay in touch with people you met throughout your experiences. Review CAPD’s 5 Steps for a great LinkedIn profile

4. Reflect, recharge, and plan

Anticipate early recruiting timelines in certain industries, including finance, investment banking, private equity, and consulting. Track timelines so you can submit applications on time and begin preparing for potential interviews. Companies within these industries firm up hiring in early September.

If you’re consider graduate or professional school, review our advice on preparing for graduate school for more insight. Summer is the perfect time to research programs and practice for standardized tests (i.e. GRE, MCAT, LSAT) that you might need.

Think about the past year. What have you learned? What did you like? What would you like to explore further in coming years? Meet with a CAPD Career Advisor to discuss your goals and plan. 

Take time to do things that energize you and have fun!

5. Know that CAPD is here for you over the summer

Have questions? Need advice? Want an expert review of your resume or personal statement draft? CAPD is still taking appointments over the summer, and you can sign up through Handshake

By Lydia Huth
Lydia Huth Communications Specialist