If you spent a long time preparing your resume and cover letters trying to get that one great internship this summer, but didn’t, don’t beat yourself up about it. Landing an internship is hard, but there are still many things you can do. So, use this time to find other ways to get new experience and improve your resume. Here are seven to start with:
Just because you didn’t get one of the few internships you really wanted doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply for the other hundreds of jobs that are out there. Do some deeper research and find more places to apply to. There are many companies that have late application deadlines for summer internships, so check them out! And just because Google didn’t come calling doesn’t mean you can’t get some great experience at a smaller, less “prestigious” company. Even an intern can be a big fish, you just have to find the right pond.
Although you won’t be getting paid, volunteering at a company or nonprofit can still help you gain new skills and network with important people. Volunteering is a great resume builder and shows employers that you are dedicated and eager to learn. Stay optimistic. Volunteering can lead to a paid position later!
Take Whatever Job You Can Find
Just because you don’t get an internship at the specific place you wanted doesn’t mean you give up. Keep searching and applying for jobs and accept whichever one you can. Look more towards part-time jobs in smaller companies. Even if you find one that isn’t directly related to what you want to do, focus on the new skills you learn and use them to highlight your resume.
Attend Networking Events
Networking events are perfect for connecting with professionals to add to your contact list. All you have to do is look up free networking events in your area. Check out local professional associations and meetup.com. If you attend, bring plenty of resumes or business cards and be ready to sell yourself! Make your first impressions memorable, and don’t be afraid to be forward about what you’re looking for. You never know if a new connection can direct you to a job opening somewhere.
If you don’t have an internship, use this extra time to take a summer class on an interesting subject related to your career of choice, or pursue a certification. This can be a great resume builder and help you stand out from the competition.
Practice Your Interviewing Skills
You can never have too much interview practice. Research some helpful interviewing tips and then get some real practice. Contact a professional you look up to and set up a quick meeting for a practice interview and tips, or head to your school’s career center for a mock interview. You could also practice with your parents or friends, or practice on your own by recording your responses with a webcam and watching the playback to see where you can improve. The next time you have an interview set up, you’ll be ready to go!
Expand Your Brand
While you’re taking a break from one of the suggestions above, think about how you want to start or expand yourself as a brand. You could even come up with a new project idea and start pursuing it. Employers like to see candidates that take initiative and demonstrate creativity. Building your brand makes it easier to communicate who you are, what your message is, and to sell yourself. Start by creating your own website or blog, or guest blogging on other sites.