News Business

Career Ready: Savvy Undergrads Gain Experience in Summer

Share this post

Whether you’re looking for a job or a paid internship over the summer, the Burlington area offers a wide variety of opportunities for students and recent graduates to gain career skills and build a professional network. Flush with summer positions that don’t involve washing dishes or working retail, Burlington businesses and organizations offer opportunities for career-oriented students to build their skills and line up a job right out of college. In fact, students are getting savvier and are using the summer months to develop their skills while taking a few courses, allowing them to stay on track toward earning their degree, while building the stepping stones to full-time employment after graduation.

How can you become career ready?

According to Roxanne Vought, Internship Coordinator at Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, many companies use their summer or part-time positions to channel new talent into the field; creating job opportunities in Vermont and enabling young professionals to get meaningful work experience.

Beyond a paycheck, employers offer many perks that benefit summer employees, interns and part-time workers. Aside from building a strong network of professional contacts in your area of interest, Vought says, “workplace culture is a real draw. Burlington is a tech hub and many companies are developing practices that serve employees well.”

With many youth-oriented companies hosting social events and employee parties, summer staff many have the opportunity to network with employees at all levels of the company. Students benefit by this type of professional association because they have the opportunity to learn from others’ experience, shape their career goals through personal experience, and build a list of contacts for references in employment applications.

While not all employers have an office dog or host basketball games during lunch, many companies offer flexible work hours and telecommute opportunities, increasing flexibility and making the experience fit better with employees’ needs. This is especially helpful for students who want to work over the summer and take advantage of earning a paycheck while working a flexible schedule and gaining meaningful experience.

The University of Vermont Career Center has a significant database of jobs and internships available to UVM students who want to gain experience over the summer. The best time to start applying for summer internships is between November and February.

According to Amanda Chase, internship coordinator and career counselor, “depending on the position, interns – especially in technology and STEM fields, can actually be paid quite well.” Students can also apply for scholarships, like the Anna Whitcomb Internship Scholarship, to financially support students while they are engaged in unpaid internships, particularly with mission-based or non-profit organizations.

The benefits of students’ work experience over the summer extend far beyond pay. Many students choose to pair their internship with a UVM Summer U course, so they can earn UVM credit while getting involved.

In addition to earning a paycheck and UVM credit, students build their professional network and contribute to the local community. Through these connections, UVM students have gained significant professional experience and career skills to prepare them for employment after college.

When looking for a summer position, Vought suggests that students should consider the “fringe benefits” offered by a company. Many of the larger companies in Burlington area have formal internship programs, enabling student workers to count on having training, ongoing support, and the opportunity to contribute to meaningful projects.

With professional experience during the summer, students are more career ready. Internships have become a standard requirement for gaining full employment and summer experience can help students to successfully transition from job-seeker to launching their career. Upon graduation, more UVM alums are able to move directly into full-employment with a network of contacts already in place to support their professional pursuits.

Consider these businesses or organizations for your summer internship:

  • National Life Group
  • Burton Snowboards
  • Fuse Marketing
  • Seventh Generation
  • Keurig Green Mountain (formerly Green Mountain Coffee Roasters)
  • Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
  • KSV | Advertising Agency
  • JDK | Design
  • Union Street Media
  • SunCommon | Renewable Energy
  • Logic Design
  • Green Mountain Software Corporation
  • ECHO Science Center
  • State of Vermont
  • Planned Parenthood (unpaid)
  • Renewable Energy Vermont
  • Vermont Country Store
  • Burlington Segway Tours
  • Agrolab Technologies
  • Vermont Urban and Community Forestry
  • Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission
  • University of Vermont Medical Center (Fletcher Allen)
  • Around Campus Group
  • Burlington Community Justice Center
  • Peace and Justice Center
  • Myelin Technologies
  • Chittenden County Public Defender’s Office
  • VT Refugee Resettlement Program
  • Stone Environmental Inc. | Environmental Consulting