College Kids: Looking to Land a Summer Job? Take Off Your Earbuds and Listen.

Spring Break is approaching.

Kids are boarding trains, planes and automobiles to visit family or friends. College kids are scrambling to figure out what they plan to do over the summer and how they plan to pay for school and/or expenses. What to do? I read somewhere recently that 20% of college-aged students in America do not have a summer job. Hmmm.

Let me share a story: Last year my college-aged daughter was on a plane returning home for break (lucky her.) She was working on her physics homework when the woman seated next to her struck up a conversation. They  ended up chatting the entire flight about science, physics, women in the sciences, mutual interests, etc. (My daughter loves science – especially physics!) At the time, my daughter was somewhat concerned that her love of physics was not strong enough relative to the ability of her peers at school. The woman with whom she spoke convinced her to stick with it if she loves it; that there will always be others brighter than she but women in science who are articulate and understand the subject are needed. For the first time, my daughter was relieved that she could follow what she loved and be able to find a career – even if she was not the best in her class at it. Further, the woman offered my daughter her business card, and suggested my daughter follow up with her.

Follow up she did. My daughter  contacted the woman several times over the next several months. As it turned out – the woman was one of the top females in America at a Fortune 500 company in the energy services arena – nuclear, in particular. After arranging for interviews, my daughter landed a summer internship last summer and will work there again this summer. Dumb luck? Maybe. But I’d like to think that taking off earbuds, talking to those around you when there’s an opportunity is an amazing opportunity – one which we should all recommend to our children.

So this Spring Break  – or any vacation for that matter – remind your children to take out their earbuds. Talk to strangers. Engage. You just never know where the conversation may lead.

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