Summer's Prime Time To Enhance Job Skills

  • Article by: Nancy Crotti
  • Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • May 5, 2010 - 9:21 AM

Summer's almost here and with it comes the possibility of idle time for many students. Experts advise students to use that time wisely by volunteering or working in a healthcare facility to gain experience and connections that may prove valuable after graduation.

"There are a lot of students who will not be taking classes or maybe they'll be taking one class this summer, so they really want to maximize their time," says Brian Mogren, Career and Placement Services director at Saint Paul College ( "Volunteering is the new job search right now. If you're able to go out and get any position in the system, it's a great way to get a foot in the door."

Check The Web

Mogren also suggests that students troll area health systems' websites for upcoming workshops and events they might attend to broaden their knowledge. Even Googling a term such as "healthcare conference Minnesota 2010" might yield some valuable information, he says.

Mogren also suggests students visit county Workforce Centers for information on healthcare job events. Many students come to the college through the centers' dislocated worker program, he says.

Helen Bruner, manager of Century College's Continuing Education Customized Training program (, often advises healthcare students to look for a summer job in a nursing home.

Hands-on Experience

"A lot of these folks are planning on going into an LPN or RN program or a paramedic program, so all of the things they are going to be dealing with in that nursing home. they are going to be learning in school," Bruner says. "It makes it much easier to study if you actually have life experience."

Assisted-living facilities and group homes also offer job opportunities to students. Group homes "are always looking for good people to come into that venue. You're working with vulnerable adults and vulnerable children," she says.

Volunteering should never be discounted, according to Bruner and Mogren. "It all looks good on the resume," says Bruner. "This also helps them make sure this is what they want to go into."

"The title of what you're doing in volunteer experience isn't as important as the fact that you're doing it," adds Mogren. The people student volunteers meet on the job may also come in handy later, he says. "Those relationships can help you find an internship and maybe ultimately, employment."

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