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!
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.
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.
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:
- College of Business and Economics
- Arts and Communication
- Education and Professional Studies
- Letters and Science – Biological Sciences
Your resources are closer than you think.
- 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.
- 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!