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Career-Readiness: 29 Tips to Leap Into Your Career

It’s February in Chicago, and that means snow flurries and freezing temperatures. But even though summer feels very far away, summer internship season is quickly approaching. Now’s the time to start writing resumes, looking for networking opportunities, and preparing for interviews. After you’ve received and accepted the offer it’s important to make sure that you are thinking about your career and professional growth from day one. That’s why we’re sharing a new tip every day this month on our Instagram Stories and recapping them here every week — so our Scholars have all the information they need to land their dream internships this summer. AND because there’s an extra day in February this year, that means there will be an extra tip to help our Scholars leap into their career. Here’s Part 4 in our 29 Tips to Leap into Your Career.

Part 4: Career-Readiness Tips to Ensure a Smooth Transition into the Workforce


Your summer internship can lead to many different opportunities down the road, whether it be an invitation to continue the internship, a job offer, or to expand your professional network. Treat every interaction with colleagues as ones that could yield future opportunities.


Many professionals spend a lot of time trying to overcome weaknesses rather than promote their strengths. Identifying your unique talents and value-add when you start your position will be helpful as you choose or are given opportunities and projects to work on. Make sure your employer understands or is aware of these strengths and how they relate to the mission and goals of the organization.

It is okay to be in the process of learning and developing your strengths. Personality and work-style assessments like Clifton Strengths and 16 Personalities are great tools to help you identify and provide language on how to talk about what you are great at.

Still unsure of your strengths? Ask about 5-10 people to use adjectives to describe you. Take note on trends that may arise.


Emotional Intelligence refers to the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. This entails having a deep level of personal (self-awareness and self-management) and social (social awareness and relationship management) competence.

It’s vital to understand the importance of knowing, developing, and practicing emotional intelligence in the workplace. Emotional intelligence plays a major role in personal and professional perceptions and interactions.


Every internship and job provides opportunities to build your skillsets and accomplishments. Make sure you are identifying what your achievements are and recording them so you can incorporate them in your resume when you are ready to apply for your next position. Regularly keeping track of this list encourages reflection to determine what the right career path is for you and what skills you want to be spending your time on developing.  According to Lifehacker, “writing down and reviewing your accomplishments can be a great motivator for doing even more good work.”


Many organizations offer or support opportunities for professional and leadership development. Ask your manager or HR department if there are any resources for interns to perfect their craft. Even if opportunities are not available, your colleagues will know that you are actively seeking to improve your skills and be professionally successful. Here are other helpful tips to adopt a growth-mindset:

  • Ask a lot of questions.

  • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes or asking for help.

  • Embrace feedback. Leaders continuously improve and become more efficient and effective when they have an open mind to feedback, reflecting, and failing forward.


Many student’s summer internships are not relevant to the career they end up in. That’s ok! One of the goals of a summer internship is to learn what excites and resonates with you about an organization’s day-to-day tasks, mission, culture, and values. It’s important to reach out to colleagues across the organization to gain insight into what their career-path looks like. This could result in you finding a mentor or a career that really does excite you. Reaching out to collegaues both in and outside of your department will help you figure out what your interests are.

How does this internship relate to your broader career goals? If you realize that your summer internship is not in a career that is right for you, that’s fine!  Studies show that people change careers 5-7 times within their lifetime. Don’t fret and think about the skills you are developing and how they can translate into other industries and positions.

Having a clear sense of what your career goals are, being aware of what you need to achieve them, and embracing the natural flux that comes with professional life will set you up for future growth and success.

This concludes our 29 Tips to Leap Into Your Career. We hope you learned helpful skills to launch a fulfilling career!