“What did you do this summer?”
This is the perennial question Yalies face each August when they return to campus. And according to the Summer 2018 Activities Report report released by Yale’s Office of Career Strategy this month, whatever you did over the summer, odds are you secured that position earlier in the academic term than students from years past.
The survey, which had a 83.6 percent response rate, reported that more students last year found their summer internships earlier than ever before, with 9.2 percent of respondents securing employment for the summer of 2018 in the spring of 2017. In 2013, 90 percent of students who took summer jobs accepted their offers during the spring semester directly adjacent to their working summer. In 2018, only 67 percent of jobs taken by Yale students were secured in the same time frame.
Jeanine Dames, the director of the Office of Career Strategy, cited a healthier job market as a potential reason for the shift toward earlier offers. Dames added that this year’s report was the first one in which the office deemed it necessary to add a separate category of respondents who secured summer internships more than a year in advance.
The survey found that the most popular industries Yalies worked in over the summer were Academia or Education, Finance and Technology, with 16.6, 13.3 and 8.4 percent of respondents interning in those respective industries.
The technology industry has attracted an increasingly large number of summer students over the years — increasing its share from just 4.7 percent of respondents in 2013 to 8.4 percent in 2018. Companies working in finance and technology are both known to recruit students especially early, Dames said.
29 percent of respondents secured funding for summer activities through Yale sources — either through a fellowship, a grant, the International Summer Award or the Domestic Summer Award. The Domestic Summer Award, which was unveiled by the University last school year, funded the summer experiences of 3.8 percent of respondents.
The survey’s results hinted at the importance of networking for securing internships: 38.8 percent of respondents with summer jobs reported that they secured their job through a personal contact, a family friend or through a connection with a Yale alum.
Steve Blum ’74, the director of strategic initiatives for the Association of Yale Alumni, said that although most alumni do not like to be solicited for job offers, they do generally enjoy sharing advice about career paths with students.
“Alums are particularly interested in providing information of what a particular career looks like and what skills a student needs to excel in a particular role,” Blum said. “[We offer many] opportunities to start dialogues with alumni.”
This year, students reported participating in a record 4,791 summer activities.
Skakel McCooey | firstname.lastname@example.org