This past weekend, a friend of mine, Charlie, was visiting from University of Illinois. We’re in the same field of study, so I asked him about his summer plans and he eagerly told me all about his paid internship in New York City. The job description basically amounted to being my dream job. When he asked me of my plans I was at a loss of words.
Coming off a little sore from a few rejections and already on the verge of panicking to find another opportunity, I found myself putting up a big front about all the options I still had. Of course, I could go back to my hometown and work at a movie theater for the summer, or just hang around Purdue and give paid campus tours for the summer, not to mention I still had a few companies I was planning on applying. I heard myself talk, and realized I was trying to reassure myself a lot more than I was trying to reassure Charlie of my summer plans.
Some students are excited that it’s almost the end of the semester. Soon they will be off to start their summer internship or job, and life will be pretty good. BUT, what about those of us who have absolutely no idea what we will be doing this summer? We’re either waiting to hear back from companies or scrambling to apply for more opportunities, all while hearing about how close the end of the semester is and all about our friends’ internships.
Don’t stress or despair; there are plenty of ways you can still add to your resume or find internships between now and the end of the semester.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Example: I really want to work for XYZ Company. If I follow and connect with employees in positions similar to those that I desire, I can set up informational interviews to see if that company/position is really what I’m looking for without going through an internship.
To find jobs/people, Linkedin also has a cool “Jobs You May Be Interested In” feature. It takes a look at your profile and suggests jobs based on what you’ve already done. You can specify the search to include certain keywords, locations and companies.
If you find it is what you expect, you can look forward to finding an internship with that company/in that position. Plus, you will have a new professional connection! If you find out it’s not at all what you expect, at least you haven’t spent a whole summer in an internship you dislike.
Go into Business with a Friend
Example: One of my close friends started his own business recently. If I know anyone who is going somewhere, it’s him. When he told me I needed to set myself apart from the crowd by doing something different this summer and offered a position to work with him overseas for the summer heading his internet marketing, it was surreal.
What better way to set yourself apart from the competition and enhance your resume than to take what you know, teach yourself what you don’t and start your own start-up. You will develop skills you didn’t even know you had and it will look awesome on your resume. Plus, if it’s a good enough friend, he or she will hopefully have your best interests in mind.
Take a Non-required Summer Class
Example: At Purdue, you have to be a Visual Communication Design major or minor to take any VCD courses; however, if I take a summer course elsewhere, I can build my knowledge and skillset to include more software literacy.
If you take a course that’s not required to graduate, but teaches you something that will really help you further your career skillset, you will definitely be able to stand out against other graduates with the same degree from your school.
These are just a few options, but you have so many more. Look for unique opportunities that could build your experience more than traditional internships. And don’t panic when comparing yourself with other students; your end goal should be to stand out from the crowd, not to be like everyone else.