So You Don’t Have An Internship This Summer?

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The academic year is winding down, summer is approaching and panic sets in.  You don’t have a summer internship yet.  Perhaps you’ve been spending endless hours applying for positions since the fall semester but nothing has worked out.  Or maybe you just started applying for positions last week and the majority of them have been filled.

Stress mounts as self-doubt runs through your mind. “Time is running out.  Without an internship I’ll never land my dream job.”

Wrong. Don’t panic! While you may no longer be able to land your dream internship for now, there are many valuable and productive ways to spend your time this summer.  Here is a game plan to make sure you make this summer count!

1. Network

Whether you’re tapping into your own established network or asking your parents what friends of theirs you can contact, networking is a powerful method to help advance your career. Not sure where to start? Consider reconnecting with former teachers, mentors or even alumni from your high school. See whom they know and who they can introduce you to.  Get out there and attend networking events this summer. It all starts with a conversation, so step out of your comfort zone and create connections with those around you.

2. Volunteer

Whether you’re volunteering at a local food pantry or with a national non-profit organization, there are plenty of ways you can volunteer and prepare yourself for your future career.  Many volunteer positions will give you a proper title that will look just as great as an internship on your resume, and you can list your job duties just as you would for an internship. Nonprofits are always looking for volunteers. Try finding an organization your passions align with and contact them to see how you can help.  Serving as a volunteer could lead you to an internship or even a full time position. 

3. Continue the search

Don’t stop applying.  Consider taking an unpaid internship to gain the experience, if needed.  Use this free time to find the perfect internship for next semester.  Get yourself hired before anyone else even begins working on their resumes. Keep an eye on job openings.  Contact companies and reach out to them before they even get a chance to say they are hiring.  You will be ready for next semester before anyone has a chance to even think about it.  It’s never too late, so don’t lose your drive.

Untitled.png24. Gaining skills from unrelated jobs

Within your summer job ask if you can help out with something that relates to your field of work.  Make sure your unrelated job ties into the overall narrative you’re telling about your skills and experiences.  You can highlight components of your summer job and relate it back to your career goals on your resume.  Some transferrable skills include: working with difficult people, managing time or stress, working with money, and the list goes on and on. Don’t dismiss the experiences that are coming your way.  Even though it is not your ideal internship, you can still learn new things every day at an unrelated job.

Not sure where to begin your search? Click on the different colleges below to for a list of internship coordinators here at UW-Whitewater:

Your resources are closer than you think.

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  1. Revamp your online presence

Take the summer to update your LinkedIn profile, clean up social media accounts, and revamp your resume.  Think about what you have accomplished in the past year; new skills, course, projects or certificates.  By taking the time to update your resume you can focus on the details and specifics to make it as clean as possible while reflecting your personal achievements.  Not only will these updates save you time down the road, but also you will begin to recognize what areas you may need to start focusing on for the future.

  1. Continue your education

Take summer courses.  Use this summer to build up your GPA.  You can lighten up your load for the fall by taking summer classes.  Pick up classes that will help you with something in the long run.  Teach yourself Photoshop or how to code.  Learning new skills that relate to your career field can give you an edge when applying for internships.  Click on the different colleges below to see whom to contact to help you find internships here at Whitewater.

You may not have the perfect internship in place, but you can still gain skills and experience for your resume. Take a moment to sit down and make your game plan to attack the fall semester. Remember, don’t panic!

Helping Others While Helping Yourself

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With Earth Day approaching, the UW-Whitwater campus wants to make an impact. On April 22nd the Whitewater community will come together to be a part of Make A Difference Day. More than 300 students from UW-Whitewater will partner with volunteers from the Rock County area to tackle several major projects in both Janesville and Whitewater.

While most know of the positive impact volunteering can leave on a community, most volunteers rarely speak of the benefits of volunteering to themselves. Doing good and enjoying yourself, while meeting your own personal and professional goals can happen at the same time. With that in mind here are both personal and professional benefits one can gain from volunteering:

Learn new and transferable skills
While gaining new skills through volunteering, you will also sharpen existing skills, or use existing skills in new ways.  Employers are often seeking well-rounded individuals who have good teamwork and goal setting skills. Through volunteer work you become a comprehensive individual by completing tasks by a certain due date with team members.

Career exploration
Volunteering offers incredible networking opportunities. You not only develop life long personal and professional relationships, but also you can hear about job openings, gather insider employment information and develop great references. Volunteering can expose you to the work of an organization in a deeper way than becoming a member, following it on social media, or even participating in an informational interview. Regardless of your age or career level, volunteering will introduce you to new professional paths.  Volunteering offers the opportunity to cross paths with people across your community.

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Differentiate yourself while gaining visibility
Real world experiences are essential when creating your story. Having additional experiences, like volunteering, gives you the upper hand when applying for jobs. Listing volunteer experience on your resume allows you to showcase versatility, as well as relatable skills you. As volunteer opportunities provide a great environment to network, they also provide an environment to showcase your work ethic (and transferrable skills) firsthand to those you would network with.

Develop leadership skills
As a volunteer you contribute unique skills, experiences, and perspectives. By watching those around you, you can begin to identify the qualities of leadership that you admire and you can strive to develop those qualities in yourself. You will have opportunities to lead by persuasion, innovation and with your ideas. Working in volunteer settings will help you learn strategic thinking, management and conflict resolution skills, which all portray the skills needed to be an effective leader. You will learn about your community, trends and issues,and  people and resources, all of which further help you develop your leadership potential.

Satisfaction
You make a difference! You may seem like a small number at the time, but these numbers add up. Last year on Whitewater’s Make A Difference Day, 352 volunteers gathered together combining over 1,408 service hours. Volunteering is one of the best ways an individual knows how to make a difference in the community. Whatever your passion, however you get involved, volunteering offers a way to have a real and lasting influence on the world. What is more satisfying than that?

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Volunteering can be a great way to develop skills, learn more about career options, make friends, gain professional contacts, spend time with others, or even find a new hobby.

Make sure to join the Whitewater community and over 300 volunteers on April 22nd for Make A Difference Day.  Sign up early so you can pick your project and hold your spot!