Six ways to stay on your game over the summer

Photo courtesy of Flickr user VirtualWolf
By Rose McManus

If you aren’t flying out to New York or Chicago this summer for an impressive internship or journalism gig, don’t fret. These six tools can help you stay up to date and keep your skill set sharp before classes reconvene. By August, you’ll be ahead of the game.

1) Get busy on LinkedIn

If you’re in a new city or heading home for the summer, use the advanced search feature on LinkedIn to find media professionals in your area. Use the platform to introduce yourself as a student studying to work in their field. Ask if you could buy them coffee or lunch sometime to meet up to discuss their role and the local media landscape. Don’t add them on LinkedIn immediately, though. Most professionals won’t accept requests until they’ve met you in person.

2) Look into freelancing

If your part-time job isn’t doing much to build your resume, look for opportunities on the side to do extra work and earn extra cash. Use sites such as to look into freelancing positions. You can also find freelancing information on the website of most publications or firms, or on Craigslist for smaller companies.

3) Set aside time to brainstorm

If you are looking into freelancing, or just want to stay sharp, set aside a small amount of time each day to brainstorm new ideas. For journalists, use this time to consider story ideas to pitch to editors over the summer or upon returning to classes. For strategic communication students, use this time to consider strengths and weaknesses of campaigns you saw recently. Think of it as a workout for your brain.

4) Create a Meetup account

Meetup is a site designed to help strangers with similar interests schedule times to, well, meet up. For students interested in photography or those who report on specific niche topics in a community, Meetup is the perfect platform to find others with similar interests. Don’t be afraid to plan your own Meetup, too.

5) Learn a new skill through online video courses

Services like offer free or cheap video tutorials for students looking to master a new skill. Lynda offers courses ranging from web design to Photoshop, but beyond Lynda, you can become an expert in anything from Spanish to food photography. With a twelve-week break, you can easily add a few new lines to the skills section of your resume.

6) Stay current

If you aren’t using them already, publications such as Poynter and POLITICO’s media section provide information on current media trends. Subscribe to some of Poynter’s several newsletters and read them like a textbook. ONA Mizzou's Facebook and Twitter are also great places to keep up with the comings and goings of the digital media world. You and your Fall 2016 professors will be grateful.

What are you looking to learn about this summer? Let us know and we'll try and send out resources on Facebook and Twitter all summer long!

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