Resources for Summer Experiences, Campus Connection & Community Engagement
We want to partner with you as you follow your curiosity and explore options. Even in your early college years, there is so much you can do to gain experience and learn more about yourself and the world.
Don’t pressure yourself to take all of the steps mentioned here, and certainly not all at once! Look at the headings to pick one next right thing and begin there. Bookmark this page for easy reference. For answers to quick questions, or to get your resume reviewed, drop by The Career Center in DUC 110 or click on the Live Chat button to speak with a Career Peer or staff member in real time.
Get Involved on Campus and in the St. Louis Community
Campus activities help you make friends and have fun, but they also help you learn about yourself and grow skills. Your activities are an important part of your education.
Assess Your Interests and Prep Your Resume for Summer Experiences
Before searching for an experience, it’s essential to understand your values, motivators, preferences and talents. Having a resume ready to go will allow you to apply for opportunities with no stress.
- What have you enjoyed learning most? Least?
- What are your top values?
- What would feel like a meaningful experience?
- What transferable skills have you honed already? Which do you want to build
- Resumes & Cover Letters Handout
- LinkedIn Resources for Students
- Review your social media presence: Jump into the shoes of a hiring manager or a networking prospect: what do your images and posts say about you? Earnestly curating your social media posts can provide a fuller picture of who you are, beyond what’s touted in your resumes and cover letters. A well curated feed can reflect your level of interest and involvement in your desired field and serve as a huge boost for how others see you.
Explore Possible Careers
Find out what it’s really like to work within an industry, company, or profession, and whether you’d like to learn more.
Connect with Professionals, Alumni & Fellow Students
Talking with people to learn about their challenges, rewards, ideas and advice is one of the most valuable ways to understand organizations and industries. This helps you evaluate your interest and become more knowledgeable. An informational interview is simply an exploratory conversation with someone who has worked or is working in a field or organization that interests you.
- Networking & Informational Interviews Handout
- How to Write Effective Emails
- The LinkedIn Alumni Tool
- WashU CNX (pronounced “connects”): Connect with WashU alumni
- Washington University Career Center Success Stories: Search for examples of internship and research experiences held by WashU students
- Office of Undergraduate Research: Get tips for finding and reaching out to a research mentor
Build Skills & Experience through Volunteerism, Self-Directed Learning, Research or Study Abroad
Grow your personal and professional skill sets to enhance your candidacy, help you thrive and/or bring you joy.
Whether you prefer to volunteer in-person or virtually, there are many ways to offer your help and build your experience through service.
- Volunteerism & Community Service at WashU: The Gephardt Institute hosts a virtual platform for engagement; you can add yourself to their volunteer list to meet the needs of St. Louis nonprofit partners. The Gephardt Institute also has summer fellowships and internships for service:
- Volunteer Elsewhere: The United Way of Greater St. Louis lists an array of Volunteer From Home opportunities. The United Way operates branches in every major U.S. city and they support the health and human service network across our country, so you can also check the website for your local branch. VolunteerMatch, Catchafire and Idealist are sites that post opportunities for you to donate your skills to organizations in need of support. These are excellent resume and experience builders.
Strive to acquire the valued professional skills you are learning about through industry research and conversations with professionals. Current WashU students have free unlimited access to LinkedIn Learning through WashU. You can learn from more than 7,500 video tutorials covering business, creative and technology topics. Learn in multiple languages from expert industry instructors. For example, you might want to teach yourself Google Analytics, learn to code, or increase your Excel mastery. These are skills that can be added to your resume.
As with internships, some First Years and Sophomores can find research opportunities in the summer, but it is more challenging at this stage than in the future. The Office of Undergraduate Research and BioSURF are good resources to check for bench and clinical research opportunities. Begin by identifying your interests, reviewing literature on existing work, reaching out to mentors and preparing yourself to be a good candidate.
It’s possible to study abroad this summer. Check the WashU Global Opportunities site.
- From Global Opportunities, click on the division or option of choice
- Click on “Advanced Search” and toggle the Term to “Summer.” Make other selections and click “Search.”
Search for Internships or Part-Time Jobs
Formal internships are less common after your First Year, given the competition with more advanced students. This is particularly true at larger, more corporate organizations. However, you may be able to find something at a smaller organization, or perhaps in the non-profit sector.
- Search Strategies Handout
- Academic Credit for Internships
- WashU database for jobs and internships: Handshake is a critical resource that allows you to look for positions, information sessions, and events for WashU students.
- Company websites and industry job boards: While you might be tempted to spend time on sites like Indeed or LinkedIn Jobs, make sure you also work from your target list to visit websites of specific organizations you find interesting.
- Career advice/posting websites: Idealist is an excellent source for internships, jobs and volunteer positions for all kinds of functional roles in the non-profit sector. The Muse and Firsthand offer practical advice on exploring career paths and finding a job. They also post positions. To access Firsthand, set up a free account using your Wustl email address and make up a password.
- Tips for international students: For campus support related to work authorization or visa questions, visit the Office of International Students and Scholars website.
- Part-time jobs: Consider looking for a job that can expose you to an industry that interests you or that will allow you to develop skills that will be valuable in the future.
- When we hear from folks who want to hire a college student for side jobs like nannying or tutoring, we post them on Career Center Part-Time Jobs.
- Jobs on Campus: Look for work study jobs on Handshake. Some examples of campus jobs include Program Assistants for Pre-College Summer Programs or Conferences Assistant for Summer Programs & Conference Services
Prepare for Interviewing
Practice telling your stories and rehearse with technology to ensure you’ll make a great impression.
- Interviewing Skills Handout: Check out our tips and practice questions
- Big Interview: This tool allows for practice interviews via video and offers courses with tips for everything interview related, from what to wear to how to answer difficult questions. With a free profile through WashU, you can get started right away.
- Tips for Online Interviews
- Schedule a mock interview with a Career Advisor