No Internship, No Problem: 10 Ways to Have a Rewarding, Resume-Building Summer

Around this time the summer panic starts to set in because everyone is on the hunt for one thing: the perfect summer internship. It can feel like the stars have to align before you land one of the coveted positions. Between midterms, daily work, a fraction of a social life, and the bare necessities of eating-sleeping-breathing-attending classes, thoughts of summer can get lost on the undying to-do list Kenyonites keep.

Sometimes, you manage to scrape together a few applications and put up a worthy fight. With a cutthroat applicant pool, though, there are no guarantees and you can still be left searching. Many can’t sacrifice a summer’s paycheck. The prospect of an unpaid internship with additional living costs is a serious commitment and not an attractive one. Scheduling with other summer opportunities, classes, or impending study abroad plans might block any potential internship opportunities. Despite vigorous encouragement from CDO newsletters, advisors, and peers, the fact is you don’t need an internship.

The name recognition of an internship is helpful, but what’s really important to those reading your resume is the benefits of your specific intern experience.

Internships have 5 major benefits:

1. They’re learning opportunities.

2. They’re ambitious and exciting.

3. They facilitate connections with professionals and their employers.

4. They provide experience in your possible future field.

5. They beef up your resume.

That’s all true, but these five qualities can be found just as easily in other opportunities. If you’re still stressing about “needing an internship,” don’t fret. An internship is useless unless you know how to market it. A well-marketed and well-utilized summer can equally impress potential employers and graduate programs.

Here are 10 ways to have a meaningful and marketable summer:

1. A Summer Job: Whether it’s waitressing, nannying, secretary work, or anything else, generating some cash flow shows maturity and commitment to your future.

2. Volunteer Work: You can learn all the skills of paid internship or job for a non-profit who needs a hand. Don’t forget that volunteer work can also be listed as work experience on a resume! (You get bonus points with employers for work outside your hometown and some major props for work out of the country.)

3. Take Summer Classes: Chopping a few general requirements out of your workload is always a great idea. Plus, the summer offers ample time to take classes that suit your immediate interests and skills outside the offerings of your major or Kenyon itself.

4. Travel: Any summer travel can be turned into a compelling resume-booster. Keep a travel blog or make a project out of the experience to show what you’ve learned, how you grew and the worth of your experiences. It’s a unique and ambitious approach to something they’ve seen a few times, which is something a great employee has.

5. Learn a New Skill: If you’ve ever wanted to take up a hobby or craft, now is the time. Summer projects like this can turn into a successful business on Etsy, a new passion, or a potential job opportunity pursuing that hobby.

6. Plan a Community Project: The creation of a local cleanup project, a 5K or anything that engages a larger community is an attractive and advanced task. This would should any company that you’ve got some major organizational and leadership chops.

7. Research for a Professor: Students build vital work skills and connections in close contacts with professors. This can be especially helpful for students planning on attending grad school or working in academia. (Lucky students might stumble upon a paid research venture too!)

8. Investigate and Record Your Family History: Not only is this a great way to get in touch with resources in the professional world you didn’t know you had to begin with, uncovering your family history is an independent, creative and personal project which few dare attempt. Depending on how the story pans out and how personal the project becomes, you can even publish your findings.

9. Work for National/Local Legislation: This year is the prime time to volunteer for a campaign. It presents an opportunity to become more informed on the upcoming election and contemporary political issues. If local government is more your style, volunteering for an elected official will provide similar skills and learning opportunities.

10. Stay on Campus for the Summer: Emails have been flooding our inboxes about summer positions at Kenyon. These positions help students foster new friendships, faculty and alumni connections, insight to a college’s upkeep and often a steady paycheck. Check for postings on Symplicity.

Any one of these options cultivates and demonstrates the skills necessary for employment, so don’t fret if you internship-less. There’s still time and plenty of promising offers.



Image Credit: We Heart It