Written by: Celestine McGee, Sr. Employer Relations & Outreach Specialist

During the summer months this is a time to highlight any work experiences that you may have encountered.  Whether it is a paid  internship, unpaid internship, shadowing remote opportunity, or volunteer work you will want to highlight your experience and package it in a way that it can be articulated to future employers. 

Taking time out of your summer schedule to explore and work on meaningful opportunities can prove to be effective for Fall employment and beyond. You may ask, well how is that?. This can possibly address 3 key areas about you and your personality:

  • It shows discipline and planning
  • Great time management
  • Focus on seeking opportunities and obtaining career goals

There are so many options that you could have explored during the summer, but you chose to work and improve yourself with meaningful experiences that incentivize your skills.  You may wonder what type of opportunities you should seek, and how far in advance you should begin such a search, what are some attributes that employers look for in ideal candidates?

Usually six months is a good time to start the process, it should have strategic appeal and be intentional. Think about the industry, type of project, prior background that you possess and new experiences which you will want to target. 

Consider projects or assignments that may have phases, revitalization and or newly testing of the waters. With these types of opportunities, you will be destined to be a valuable contributor to the process. Your input can lead to improvements in a process, or provide new insights that have not been explored or just provide a twist to an old idea or concept. Either way go into projects that have possibilities and connect with your academic focus and or career aspirations.

What types of work values are employers seeking?

  • Having a positive attitude-Having a positive attitude is hugely important because it allows you to to look to the optimistic part of things.
  • Adaptability– All things are not ideal and at times requires change of gears known as adaptability. Having this trait speaks volumes about your ability to advance with projects
  • Self- Motivated-Possessing self motivation is awesome, because you will have a hidden connection and won’t require other people to motivate you. You will understand first and foremost what is at stake.
  • Motivation to Grow & Learn– It is awesome to have motivation to grow and  learn in an organization. Having the trust and motivation to learn creates a powerful aura for success. Always become a sponge and be eager to seek out new learning opportunities and thrive in the process.

In highlighting your projects and activities, focus on 3 key areas that articulate your initial abilities while engaging in a  project or assignment.

  1. Communication– Your ability to understand the project and provide deliverables is very important.
  2. Collaboration– Partnering on projects gives buy-in and accountability because others have stake in the outcome.
  3. Critical thinking– Going into a project with a critical eye allows you to look at other possible angles, analyze and get better judgement outcomes, and the willingness to do the work thus putting in the effort up front.

In closing to the topic of summer projects and articulating experiences is priceless!!! Always take pride in your work and don’t be afraid to get clarification if you are not sure of the expected outcome.

For a list of various approved employers and job posting, be sure to view Handshake.com.


Career Services Resources


Top 10 Values Employers Look For


The Top 10 Skills Employers want in an  intern


Articulating Your Summer Experiences to Employers