First off, congratulations! High school is in the books and college is around the corner. With that said, here are five simple steps you can take over summer to ensure you are entering freshman year ready to rock and roll.
1. Create a rolling resume. By definition, think of a rolling resume as an active storing bank where you can log your up-to-date projects, achievements and accolades for future use. Here’s what you do: A) Schedule a 60-90 min window of time this summer to create a new Google Sheets file. B) In the document, label the four top categories: DATE, TITLE OF EVENT, DESCRIPTION OF EVENT, MY ROLE) Starting with your high school sophomore year, list every major internship, job, activity, accomplishment, award, or special project you have been involved in to date. No event is too insignificant—list it all! Remember the time you were selected by your teacher to speak at the community volunteer event? What about the scholar athlete award you were awarded as a junior? Take the time to create this document now. Many students wait until internship application season comes around to create this document and end up rushing, leaving out critical accomplishments in the process. Take the time to create your rolling resume this summer and thank yourself later.
2. Get your professional headshot. So why is having a professional looking photo so important? Think of it this way: your online presence is simply another version of you. Whether on LinkedIn or Facebook, every time you reach out to someone new, the first image they see is your profile image. Therefore, a professional headshot can make a world’s difference with first impressions. Getting a professional headshot is so easily overlooked that it often never gets done. Don’t fall victim to the “I’ll get it done at some point” theory. Call your local Target, JC Penny, or local photo shop to schedule a headshot session. It’s that simple.
3. Plant seeds and find mentors. I wrote How to Network in College after seeing the incredible impact networking has had on college student’s lives. Finding the right mentor and creating the right relationship with someone who is doing what you might see yourself doing in years to come can be eye opening.
Now that your professional headshot is done and uploaded to your LinkedIn account, you’re ready to reach out to some new people. Set a goal to reach out to a few working professionals and recent graduates who can provide you with real tips about college and road mapping your own success.
4. It’s time to clean up your social media. If you have a FINSTA (fake Instagram account), I highly recommend leaving that behind with your high school days. If there are posts or pictures you are tagged in and not too proud of, I’d highly recommend untagging, removing, and deleting. I couldn’t stress this enough. We are now in the social media era where everything is searchable. A great exercise here is to Google yourself. After searching through a few pages, most are surprised to see what they find linked to their name. Future employers, admissions officers, college coaches—think about the impression you’d like to leave with these individuals. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
5. Bond with family & friends. The jump from high school to college is no easy task, and for many this is the first time away from family and close friends. With that said, make this time in summer memorable. Hang out with your family and friends as much as humanly possible. Take pictures and memorabilia that will come in handy this fall when things get tough (Yes, college comes with rough patches). Remember, there are people supporting you on this college journey. You’ve got fans behind you. You’re not alone.