Power up your résumé even without a summer job

If your best efforts didn’t land a summer job, you can still build your résumé by pursuing your personal interests through non-paying activities like learning to build your own web site, job shadowing or volunteering.

Regardless of whether you’re a high school or university student, powering up your résumé with a range of summer activities will prove to future employers you have the kind of creative initiative that will be an energized asset in any organization. Plus, you’ll have a lot of fun and satisfaction from doing something this summer that’s more meaningful than hanging around, waiting for school to start again.

We’ve already blogged about some cool things you can do this summer that look great on a résumé like joining Mozilla’s Summer Code Party running from now to September 23. You can register on your own website or get a bunch of friends together to learn stuff like building a website, making a super-charged video, building a game or designing an app.

Mozilla Executive Director Mark Surman says, “The web is becoming the world’s second language, and a vital 21st century skill - as important as reading, writing and arithmetic.” So, Mozilla is helping people become web literate through its Mozilla Webmaster Project which includes special tools such as Hackasaurus for making your own web pages within a browser and Popcorn for supercharging online video. Mozilla says it’s newly released Thimble makes it ridiculously simple to create your own web pages.”

It’s probably too late to get a summer internship with a company but in our April blog about internships, we mentioned a Globe and Mail story – Can’t decide on a career? Sample many – about exploring different places you think you might want to work through non-paying “job shadowing.”

The Globe story featured Toronto high school graduate, Michael Warshafsky who organized a job-shadowing marathon last summer, trying out 60 jobs in 60 days. He figured if he “shadowed a different job every day through the summer, I could get a taste of every possible career. ”To find companies that interest you, ask your parents where their friends work. Or, ask your friends where their parents work to arrange a job shadowing introduction. To really show initiative that looks so great on a résumé, contact a company’s human resources department and explain you’d like to volunteer to learn more about careers in their industry.

And speaking of volunteering, there’s no shortage of opportunities to help out non-profit groups, agencies and organizations that are doing good things in your community. Just Google your city or town’s name along with the word “volunteer” and places are bound to come up. For example, Toronto has a website called Volunteer Toronto where you can learn what’s involved with volunteering and even search for roles by activity, organization or what’s available in the area of your postal code. Or you can volunteer on the CareerMash Student Advisory Panel, accepting applications until July 7.

So get going. Don’t sit around this summer. Do yourself and your résumé some good by getting out there to explore what’s possible!

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