What to Do on Your Summer Vacation (2019 Edition)

It seems like it was only yesterday that I wrote the Cornell Real Estate Council Blog, “What To Do on Your Summer Vacation” in the Spring of 2018 and here we are with Cornell students heading off around the world again.c

Lynn Zuckerman Gray, J.D. ’75, is the Founder and CEO of Campus Scout, LLC, an innovative provider of strategic campus and recent graduate recruiting services, Career Coaching for young professionals and bespoke training programs for employers, primarily focused on the Millennial and Z generations. Learn more about Lynn.

Here are some old tips and new tips to enhance the value of your summer experience:

  1. Many firms rely on summer internships as their primary source of hiring full time employees. The summer experience is in effect an eight to ten week interview during which you will be judged on skill sets, personality, attention to detail and “fit” within the company culture and you will be trying to determine whether if given an offer you want to join the company for the long term.
  1. Before you arrive for your first day, reach out to ascertain the dress code for interns. While many firms have relaxed their standards recently, I will never forget when an intern arrived in casual pants and a shirt with no tie on his first day at our firm that required suits year-round.  Fortunately, I greeted him at the door before he joined the group and sent him home to quickly change.  He was embarrassed but not as uncomfortable as he would have been had he walked into an environment that was decidedly formal.
  1. Even if you decide during the summer that you will not accept an offer if given the opportunity, it is important to do your best to get that offer and be in control of your future with the company. It is always harder to explain why you did not get an offer than why you declined.
  1. Although it is a very competitive job market among employers, the priority for the summer is not for you to have a learning experience that will enhance your education – it is for you to contribute to the success of the company. We hear from some candidates that they accepted a summer job to “round out their education” but they do not have any interest long term in the sector.  You may have an interesting summer but getting a job at graduation will be more challenging if you showed lukewarm interest and did not get a full time offer at the end of the summer.
  1. If you did not find a summer job in real estate, do not despair. If you are working outside the industry, think about how you can add to your knowledge that might be of value to a potential real estate employer. For example, often summer interns in banking are assigned to groups that need summer help and although your career plans are in real estate you are not assigned to the real estate finance or banking groups.  Focus on developing modeling and presentation skills both of which are important for a real estate career.
  1. If you did not find a summer job at all, do something entrepreneurial. Work on a “Big Idea” that you think may change the real estate industry.  There are gig jobs out there that are temporary in nature but may be related to real estate.  And always remember that real estate takes many forms including corporate real estate, government work and startups.
  1. Wherever you go this summer, make sure that you use your membership in the Cornell Real Estate Council network to its fullest extent. Our website provides tools to search for CREC members in your area.  Get to know them when you are in town.  An Iced Tea or Iced Coffee always is a welcome gesture when visiting another Cornellian in town.  Regional CREC Chapters are a great source of events, networking opportunities and full-time jobs if your summer internship is a disappointing one for any reason.

Have a great summer and please share your summer experiences by sending us blog postings!