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Having a Proactive, Money Smart Summer

During the summer break, the best thing UNL students can do to be proactive about their professional and financial futures is to land an internship at a company they want to work at after graduation. According to a survey done by Internships.com in 2012, 69% of companies with 100 or more employees offered full-time jobs to their interns. Additionally, 53% of the surveyed employers said they expect to hire more interns in 2013 than they did in 2012.

Making a good first impression at an internship is important for your student. According to businessinsider.com, first impressions are made within the first 7-17 seconds of meeting someone. Only 7% of a first impression is from the words you say. The other 93% is from your body language, tone of voice, and appearance.

You can help your student build a professional wardrobe that will last them throughout their college internships and even their first job. Experts suggest that before going shopping, interns should first look at what people in the company are wearing and take notes. Their professional image should fit the company’s image. Often the best image is one that is neat, clean, and simple.

Style experts suggest that the best way to get more mileage out of your wardrobe is to focus on buying clothing in three compatible and flattering colors. Often students try to find the cheapest clothing, but need to be reminded to choose clothing that offers the best value and quality. Students need to understand the importance of investing in classic, timeless pieces and staying away from trends. When contemplating clothing purchases, students can ask themselves if they think they can wear the item for at least three years.

For women, style experts recommend the following classic clothing items (in descending order of professionalism): a skirted suit, a dress with blazer, a dress with matching jacket, and a tailored pantsuit. For skirts, lengths should be no more than one hand-width above the knee. The most recommended type of shoe is a plain pump with a 1 1/2 inch heel.

For men, style experts recommend investing in solid blazers. Men should learn to coordinate outfits around the jacket. It’s an easy way to make sure everything matches. Experts recommend solid colored, button-down oxford shirts with diagonal-striped and small patterned ties, and pin-striped shirts with solid or muted paisley ties.

Many popular clothing stores offer students discounts on professional clothing. Students just need to show their student ids. Following are some examples (please inquire at the store before assuming these discounts are still valid): The Limited – 15% off in-store, Charlotte Russe - 10% off in-store, Ann Taylor LOFT - 15% off in-store, Ann Taylor - 20% off in-store, and Banana Republic - 15% off in-store.

Students should be proactive about saving a large portion of their summer earnings. They can use their summer savings to help pay for their housing and miscellaneous expenses throughout the school year. It’s good to remind students that the more they save during the summer, the less they have to work during the school year and the more time they will have to study, socialize, and participate in student organizations and volunteer activities. Many students also focus on saving summer money to put towards their students loans. Additionally, many students use summer earnings to build an emergency fund for any unexpected expenses that might come up.

There are many ways students can save money during the summer. For those who have internships outside of their hometowns, they can check into housing options offered by their fraternities, sororities, or other student organizations. Many of these national organizations can help students arrange affordable housing all across the country. Students should also get into the habit of bringing their own lunches, staying away from expensive coffee drinks, and using budget-friendly transportation options.

Students can be proactive about graduating on time by taking summer classes. All enrolled students can register for summer classes on MyRed. There are several different sessions available. The flexible class scheduling is perfect for students who have internships. Students also have the option of taking online courses. The full online course offering is available at: online.unl.edu.

Another idea for things students can do over the summer to be proactive about their professional and financial futures is volunteering. Before searching for volunteer opportunities, students should consider what skills they want to learn and find the right opportunity to build up their marketable skills. UNL’s Center for Civic Engagement can help students find excellent volunteer opportunities.

Students can also spend some of their summer free time thinking up ideas for potential research projects for the fall semester. All UNL students can apply for the UCARE (Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences) program. As an undergraduate research assistant, your student will work closely with a faculty advisor to conduct research on a topic they propose. More information about the UCARE program can be found at: unl.edu/ucare.
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About the Author: Carla Talmadge is junior communications major from Seattle. She is a student program assistant at the UNL Student Money Management Center, a financial education program for UNL students. Carla works one-on-one with students to answer their financial questions and help them find solutions to their financial challenges. For more information on the UNL Student Money Management Center, please visit: http://www.unl.edu/smmc.