How to Spend Your Summer

Credits: photo credit: Thomas Bullock via photopin cc

In a recent conversation with Career Coach, Sharon Wiatt Jones, she shared her thoughts on steps undergrads should take during the summer break to improve their job prospects upon graduation. Sharon Wiatt Jones is an author with twenty years of experience as a career counselor who specializes in helping undergraduates and veterans leverage their strengths and fully realize their career potential.

Q:  Is there one key credential or preparation that is essential for graduates entering the job market for the first time?

Getting experience related to the desired job is the most valuable asset. Of course, this means that a student has thought about and targeted a type of job and, preferably, industry. If could be in the form of volunteer work (marketing for a nonprofit), campus activity (business or accounting majors as treasurer for a large student organization budget), or internship (part-time, virtual, summer). Self-employment counts too if it’s related to a career interest (web design, graphic design, writing, programming, etc.). Enrichment in areas like language development, coding skills and independent science projects can also bolster a resume.

Sign Up for E-News

After freshman or sophomore year a lawn-mowing or moving business usually pales in comparison to an office environment. Business protocol counts for something. One option is working for a family business in accounting, design, marketing, sales, or a role similar to career goals.  I worked with a student who took a semester off to help his father move his company from one state to another. The student was able to describe negotiating with vendors, planning stages of the move, scheduling employees and contractors, and more.  It was a powerful experience as he gave examples in interviews.

Q:  Since the publishing of your book The Parent’s Crash Course in Career Planning: Helping Your College Student Succeed in 2007 how has the job market changed?

Everything has changed. Occupations, industries, job titles, skills are all in a state of flux. I write about new and emerging occupations, which is challenging because what I write is usually out of date in six months (sometimes less).

Five years ago, the hot fields were nursing, post-secondary education, law and government, while today they are computer sciences, biomedical engineering and linguists in critical shortage languages, especially among those who have security clearances.

Social media has come a long way since the last book was published. Every applicant should have a 100% complete LinkedIn profile, 50-100 connections, and belong to at least 5 groups before a job search. That means starting by junior year. Another goal is developing a following on Twitter and starting to understand Klout scores. Blogging is good. Other platforms may be important depending on your field. These are all worthy projects to move forward during summer months.

Groups such as The Young Professionals’ Group are good places to network and available in most large cities.  The practice of talking with strangers, developing your “pitch” and learning from others can help build your social contacts and make it more effective when it really counts in year or so.

Employers have more and better qualified candidates to choose from given the high unemployment.  This makes it difficult to find a true “entry level” job. Multiple internships can sometimes be combined to qualify for a job requiring 6-12 months of experience.

Since the recession, many employers are reluctant to take a chance on new grads. Those with relevant majors, courses, projects, internships, volunteer work are more likely to have the business savvy and skills to succeed. Students can't be complacent about selecting a marketable college major and electives, obtaining career-related experience (internships, part-time or summer jobs, volunteer work, course projects), developing job search skills (including social media), joining professional associations, and demonstrating leadership and teamwork skills. As President Kennedy once said, "Things do not happen. Things are made to happen."

For more adventures from the college zone, check out this young entrepreneur from ASU! Wondering how to get from where you are to where you want to be? Meet Allison.

AnnMarie Quintaglie McIlwain is a former marketing executive with Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson and consultant to several Fortune 100 companies.  Now, as Founder and CEO of, she is a social entrepreneur who connects people with the information and inspiration they need in order to get jobs and start businesses. CareerFuel is the only site that gives people what they need to know to find jobs or start businesses plus blogs and short films about real people who made it happen. 

A recipient of numerous civic and leadership awards, AnnMarie is a Board member of, was a participant in the first White House Entrepreneurial Session, the recent WeOwnIt Summit, and the first Alley to the Valley Event.  She is also a member of 85Broads and Startup America.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Mon, July 16, 7:45 AM

17 Kent Place Boulevard, Summit

Monday Morning Yoga

Health & Wellness


Mon, July 16, 6:30 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Film: The Fencer

Arts & Entertainment


Wed, July 18, 6:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Senior Summer BBQ at the Summit YMCA

Food & Drink

Summit Police Blotter

July 9, 2018

6/19 - Peter Ferguson, 31, of New York, New York was arrested on a contempt of court warrant out of Point Pleasant Beach. Mr. Ferguson posted bail and was provided a new court date.

6/22 - At 1552 hours a report was taken for a theft of one thousand (1,000) mops from Overlook Hospital. The reporting individual indicated the theft occurred between 6/10 and 6/21. Taken from a storage area ...

Video: Point View's Dietze Says Trade Tensions 'Weigh Heavily' on Investors' Minds

July 13, 2018

Point View Wealth Management Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, live on BNN/Bloomberg on how the trade wars are impacting the stock market:

​​​​For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and ...

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey

How often do you read TAPinto?  Have you downloaded the TAPinto APP?  These are a few of the questions for readers in our 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

We want to hear from you!

The survey will take less than five minutes to complete and will help TAPinto better serve you. 

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

Thank you.  We appreciate your support and ...

Fear of Rising Rates? Remember The Reason You Own Bonds

If the current interest environment has you concerned about your bond portfolio, remember why you are investing in bonds.  The role bonds, or fixed income, play in a portfolio is not solely based on performance.  Bonds are used to offer stability, particularly when stock market volatility is rising. Rate hikes can dampen bond performance, but keep perspective on how rising rates impact ...

Are You Ready for Your Child to Turn 18?

If your son or daughter is turning 18, here are a few things you need to know:

If you have an UGMA/UTMA savings account for your child, did you know those assets are his/her legal property and once that instrument matures (most often 21 years old or 18, if you designated that at time of account creation), those assets are at your child’s disposal with no restrictions or ...

Extra Time

It was close to 70 minutes into the match and I had to go to the bathroom.  Badly.

As fans watching the World Cup know too well, bathroom breaks are a serious dilemma, especially for those who don’t have a TV in the loo.  This biological necessity is exasperated by beer, which during World Cup matches also fuels a strong propensity to throw chairs and instigate riots.