You may be dreaming of a break from June through August, but summer employment, particularly a job within your major, can offer a tremendous boost to your future career prospects. Figuring out how to find a summer job that parallels your major can be a challenge. Here are some tips for college students hoping to do a bit more to get ahead in their future career.

Beyond summer employment

Figuring out your future career may seem pretty daunting to most college students. Finding summer employment is good practice and can actually be treated with the same discipline and approach. In Your Career: How to Make it Happen, 9e, Julie Griffin Levitt and Lauri Harwood, provide a useful guide with tips for college students or anyone looking for employment. They describe a five-step process to guide anyone in their job search: “The cycle of preparing, assessing yourself, networking, documenting your skills, and following up with employers is an important part of your work life, not only for your first job but for the entire length of your career.”

Gain professional experience

According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, “67 percent of employers say they plan to hire recent college graduates this year, up from 65 percent last year and the highest outlook since 2007.” That is great news for graduates, but what about students whose job search is still several years away? One important tip is to take advantage of summer break to find a job, based in your major, that will further your future career potential. And most definitely don’t wait to think about your future career plans until you final semester. You have at least three summers before the start of your senior year, so that is three opportunities for internships or summer employment that can help you hone your focus and possibly lead to a real job after graduation.

Tips for college students

When planning your summer employment search, start by talking to the people you know, whether its friends, family members or professors. Tell them what you hope to accomplish, your goals, your expectations. This kind of networking can lead to a summer job, or at least give you another potential lead.

Next talk to your career services office at school. This is their whole purpose, and they may have summer employment or internship opportunities that will mesh with your major and boost your future career chances all at the same time.

Know of a company that you are impressed by? Approach them about summer employment, even if it means an unpaid internship. The CareerBuilder survey found that 13 percent of employers felt universities didn’t emphasize internships enough. So pursuing this path, if you can afford to not have paid work, can be a big help to your future prospects.

Reference: Harwood, Lauri; Lisa M.D. Owens; Crystal Kadakia. 2017. Your Career: How To Make It Happen, 9th Edition. Mason, OH: South Western, Cengage Learning.

What tips for college students do you have to better their chances at a successful future career? Tell us in the comments.