Hey Summer, nice to see you.

While the call of the beach, lemonades, falling asleep in the hammock, going to the pool, and turning cheap wine into delicious sangria is tempting, you can help your career this summer. It is perfect for doing these five things.

1. Story Collecting

Bring a notebook with you on your road trips and write out accomplishment stories. Each day of the trip,  write out a story about something you are proud of in your career. Like the time you came up with a business plan that tripled revenue that year, or that time you stayed late to help a co-worker complete an important project. Stuff like that.

Those stories become the foundation for your career brand and job search. When you are ready to write your resume, simply write these stories up as accomplishments bullets. You’ve already done the hard work and the stories will be there when you need them.

2. Research

I’m not saying to spend your summer days doing online research. I mean, when you are at summer gatherings, try talking to new people and find out what they do for a living or are interested in. You can find out a lot by asking questions and paying attention at these gatherings. Sometimes I look for the person who looks like they have the biggest ego and voice. I get into a conversation with them and ask about the company they work for and the trends they see. Some people really love to look smart and share insider knowledge. You can find out a lot, even if it’s not in your industry. You can also meet people who can connect with other people when you are in full search mode. Sow those relationship seeds now.

You can also try and get informational interviews with people working in roles you want or with your dream company. Many people go away in the summer but things slow down in many industries, and you are more likely to get a coffee or 15-minute chat with someone.


3. Test out introducing yourself in a new way

If you are thinking about transitioning to a new specialty or career, test out how you want to introduce your work. Get some sample scripts here.

Even testing these out in a low stakes setting is good practice. You can see what you are the most comfortable saying, and how people respond. When I switched from working in community development to career coaching, I changed how I spoke about myself. At first, I said, “I am a career coach” and then started saying, “I help people navigate successful job searches, stuff like resumes, interviews and everything needed to land more ideal work.” Play around with what sounds good to you and helps people to understand your work.

4. Take a course.

The summer is a great time to take a course. There are many online courses you can do that can give you an edge when applying for a new job. And, you don’t always need to complete it before you land a new job.

I landed a position in an HR firm while studying HR in a part-time online program. On my resume, under Education I wrote this:


Human Resource Management Certificate, Red River College (in progress)

Courses taken: Intro to HR Management, Organizational Behavior, ATS System programming and management

The courses don’t necessarily have to be accredited either (unless that is a pre-requisite for the job you are going for). You can show your commitment to life-long learning by taking MOOCs. I have taken some great ones through Coursera and EdX

Or you can take a course to help bolster your job search skills. I have classes on:

Building Your LinkedIn Presence

Writing a Resume

Nailing your Interview Skills

Figuring out what you’re great at and what role to take next


5. Volunteer

In my city, there seems to be a festival or sporting event every weekend. These events provide great opportunities to add a line to the community involvement section of your resume, meet new people, help out, and sometimes build a new skill. While committing to a regular volunteer commitment is not always feasible when balancing work, job search and family, volunteering for a couple of hours on the weekend can be a smart move.

If you’re looking to bolster or grow your skills, try getting on a board or events committee where you have a position title of substance. Helping to advise the board on marketing, accountability or logistics looks better on paper, and can be a quick way to help out while building experience.


Do them all, or do one.

It’s your career and job search. For some of you, taking one action will be enough. For others who hope to land in September, you’ll be more active.

I hope this summer gives you a great time with the people you love and time to help your career.