Students can make plans now for summer resume-building activities

WWU freshman Anne learning about Habitat for Humanity at the 2017 WWU winter career fair

WWU freshman Anne Christina Ruud learns more about
Habitat for Humanity at the 2017 WWU Winter Career Fair

It’s April, and spring quarter at Western Washington University is just under way. While it may seem early for your student to start thinking about summer plans, this is the perfect time to discuss options and research opportunities.

Here in the Career Services Center, we’re passionate about the value that many types of experiences can add to a resume, including internships.

Internships are powerful skill-builders for our undergraduate students. Internships, time-limited experiences that enable students to explore their professional interests in a workplace setting, can be paid or unpaid, full- or part-time, for credit or not. And students can participate in internships during the summer or even during the school year.  

In general, internships help new graduates find jobs after college more quickly and at higher salaries. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Class of 2015 Student Survey, students who completed internships had an increase of 21.8 percent in post-graduation job offers and earned 22 percent more in their starting salaries than those graduates who did not have an internship. Western’s own surveys of recent graduates consistently find similar results.

But many types of experiences can add to a resume. If your student is still a freshman and not sure of his or her professional interest area, summer jobs, volunteering, and club activities all build documentable skills.

Even if these experiences are unrelated to a student’s ultimate career interest (i.e. barista at a coffee kiosk, or bagger at a grocery store), they provide a range of experiences that are sought by employers: teamwork, problem-solving, communication skills and a strong work ethic, which are the top five attributes employers look for in all graduates, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2017 survey .

At the Career Services Center, we are available to assist your student in finding internships and other skill-building experiences. The Spring Career Fair on April 20 is the perfect opportunity to explore alternatives. Other information sessions and workshops will also provide excellent information and preparation.

Finally, a one-on-one session with experienced career counselors can help students define career building activities, articulate skills and document them on a resume. Our office is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., throughout the year including summer and winter breaks and can be reached at (360) 650-3240.

Whatever additional activities your student pursues, we are excited to be part of the process!