How to Improve Your Resume Even If You Didn’t Have a Summer Internship


Finding summer employment can be nearly impossible as well, so don’t count yourself out if you’ve been left without a paycheck. If you have zero experience and are looking for a great way to get some, look for volunteer positions. Again, try to gain experience in your field, but in any case, transferrable skills and long-term commitment are attractive to employers. “When you look at volunteerism and giving your time it’s about what you’re passionate about,” says Rodriguez. “When you find your niche there’s going to be a pattern, there’s going to be dedication.”

When the term “volunteering” is mentioned, most people immediately think of soup kitchens and animal shelters. But if neither of these options strikes your fancy, there are plenty of other options. Places like nursing homes and hospitals love having volunteers come in and talk to residents/patients to brighten their days, which is a perfect use for your gift of gab. If you’re obsessed with going green, national and state parks are always looking for volunteers. Do sports get you going? Teams, leagues, and events—even the Olympics!—rely heavily on their volunteer workforce. There’s even the option to take trips with Habitat for Humanity and build houses in places like New Orleans. Putting things like this on your resume will only benefit you!

How to List it on Your Resume:


YMCA, San Jose, CA – Development Volunteer
Solicited contributions as a member of the fundraising committee. Helped raise $200,000 over a four-year period.

Leadership and Involvement

Employers also look for things like leadership experience and participation in activities outside the classroom. Molly Neuhauser graduated from the University at Buffalo with a major in communications, but has significant leadership experience in other areas. “My leadership experience pertains to my dancing,” she says. “I put down my experience as kickline captain from my senior year in high school, and my experience as a choreographer for the dance club in college. I've been doing that for four years.” These experiences helped her land a summer internship with Sony Pictures.

“Always include leadership and involvement outside of the classroom,” says Rodriguez. “Things like positional leadership in student group or organization, but maybe you’ve been engaged in a community service activity as well. Employers like when you’ve done things to enhance your academic experience and anything that adds to your value.”

How to List it on Your Resume:

Leadership Experience

Stage Crew, University of Miami, FL – Art Director
In charge of designing all set pieces and backdrops for the university’s three annual musicals. Designated painting and building assignments to a team of ten workers. Monitored the budget and kept track of paint purchases.

Job Shadowing

Job shadowing is something that takes more initiative than just finding an application on a website, but is a great way to get more information, learn about your field, and make connections. If there’s a company or a career you’re interested in, pick up the phone and ask if you can schedule an informational interview. This is a great way to pick up tips and learn what your potential employers really want to see. If you can schedule a day to shadow an employee while they work, all the better. “Increasing your exposure to different settings is critical,” says Rodriguez. “And when you’re a student, people want to give back.”

How to List it on Your Resume:

Professional Experience

Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY – Art Curator Job Shadow
Researched paintings to be used in an upcoming exhibit, translated a 300-year-old document, and assisted and observed the art preservation process.