We all have that realization after Independence Day that the summer is sadly moving just as quickly as it did the year before. Your summer to-do list might still have a ways to go and you might find yourself starting to stress about the upcoming semester. Luckily, there are still plenty of summer days left to get ahead of the game. Here are some ideas to help you feel refreshed and at the top of things professionally for the year ahead.
1. Update, Organize and Backup
The weather might be beautiful and the pool is probably calling your name. However, utilize one of those lazy weekend days and devote a few hours to a complete overhaul of your online profiles. Take the time to use SimpleWash to clean up those Facebook and Twitter posts. Reorganize all those projects on your desktop and back up any files that might be a great addition to your portfolio. Better yet, back up every file from the beginning of your college career, since you never know when that one paper might be the perfect writing sample to show a future employer.
2. Follow up, Volunteer and Connect
Now is the perfect time to grab that stack of business cards and give those contacts a brief summer update. Go back through your LinkedIn and Twitter and thank your endorsers, connections and re-tweeters by letting them know your professional goals for the year ahead. On your day off, research volunteer opportunities in your area and plan an adventure weekend out of it. You’ll be amazed to find how many people and organizations will help you find connections and future work opportunities by simply giving them a few hours of your summer. You’re more likely to find genuine connections during this time of year.
3. Read and Stay Relevant
Finally, those case studies and textbooks can be set aside for a few months as you’re able to get caught up on everything you’ve missed out on reading. This is such a vital time to take advantage of updating yourself and staying relevant with all changes in the industry. Take an afternoon to read through recent Progressions posts or an issue of PR Week and you’ll feel informed and prepared to talk about the future of the profession. Download a few news-focused applications on your phone and get in the routine of checking them every morning instead of your never-ending Instagram feed. Having this relevant knowledge in the back of your mind will put you far ahead of everyone else.
4. Take Some “You” Time
As contradictory as this tip may seem in comparison to the rest of this post, this is the most important of them all. Take some precious “you” time this summer and balance getting ahead with giving yourself time to de-stress. Getting ahead and organized during the summer is only going to benefit you in the fall, whereas taking some time for yourself will benefit you now. Make sure to take a few of those lazy days and do nothing more than be lazy.
My advice: take it one lazy summer day at a time and plan accordingly. You’ll find a perfect balance of when to get ahead and when to enjoy your summer. You will end up being much more prepared for your next year of school with that summer list completed and a refreshed, updated, connected and reorganized new you.
“Intern Talk” is a guest column produced by Jonathan Hill, 2014–2015 vice president of career services. You can follow him on Twitter @JonJonHill. The column covers various aspects of the public relations industry, giving PRSSA members the tools to secure internships and make the most of their professional experiences. For more career resources, visit the PRSSA Career Manual and Internship Center.