General Education

No Internship? No Problem: 8 Ideas for What to Do Instead This Summer

No Internship? No Problem: 8 Ideas for What to Do Instead This Summer
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Carolyn Heneghan June 18, 2014

If the traditional route of a job or intern didn’t work out, you can still build your professional experience through these unconventional routes.

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So you didn’t land the internship you wanted this summer. No problem!

Whether you’re between semesters or fresh out of college, you still have plenty of options to keep you busy over the summer while still remaining productive.

Enjoy the summer while creating something fun and starting something new. You’ll be happy to include these eight activities on your resume.

# 1. Freelance

Maybe you haven’t been hired on at a company full-time, but sometimes those companies do accept freelance work. If you’re a writer or graphic designer, you could submit an idea that may turn into an assignment, which could generate extra cash on the side. You’ll also get to build your portfolio with this valuable experience.

# 2. Start Your Own Business

Another option is to start your own small business. This could be anything from an online company that provides Internet-based services to one that sells actual products. With the ability to create an online presence, it’s easier than ever to start a business with few overhead costs, and it’s a phenomenal addition to your portfolio. Also, if you have a few of your textbooks lying around at your place, why not make some cash and sell those too?

# 3. Volunteer

Sometimes companies cannot afford to monetarily compensate interns. However, some of these companies — as well as other nonprofit organizations — may have positions open on a volunteer basis that will allow you to do career-oriented tasks. These experiences can provide you with opportunities to build your portfolio as well as great stories to tell potential employers.

# 4. Create Something for Your Portfolio

Are you studying to be in a profession where an employer might ask you for a portfolio? Instead of waiting for a company to hire you to begin building up that portfolio, why not create something on your own? Write a magazine feature that you could potentially pitch to publications, or create a logo for a company that exists but hasn’t necessarily hired you. This will not only be valuable experience and practice for you in your field, but it can show potential employers concrete evidence of what you can do.

# 5. Travel and/or Study Abroad

Traveling and studying abroad can certainly contribute to the learning process in terms of actual schoolwork. But also, immersion in another culture is enough to teach you valuable life skills, open your mind to other possibilities, and make you stand out with something interesting on your resume.

Look into the study abroad programs your school provides or what organizations such as CIEE or AIFS can offer. Find one that suits your interests, goals, and where you’d like to go.

# 6. Take a Summer Class

Taking a summer class will keep you busy and look great on a resume or in a job interview. You have plenty of options for summer classes, including those available at your school, other schools, and even online courses. The summer is a perfect time to pick up the basics of a new language, take a harder class (summer classes tend to be easier and more lenient in grading), get ahead on your minor, or take a class you’ve been eyeing.

# 7. Learn a New Skill

Even if you don’t take a full-blown class, you can still find new skills to learn, such as a new language or coding. Apps and online video tutorials can help you in the process without the formalities of a classroom. Cooking could be another important skill to have when you venture out on your own so that you can entertain guests and feed yourself something better than frozen dinners and microwaved canned foods.

# 8. Catch Up on Reading

Have you been meaning to read the memoir or recent how-to book from your favorite author in your field or brush up on the classics? The summer offers plenty of time to sneak in some uninterrupted reading time, which can be valuable for keeping your mind at work and learning some important job skills.

With such a wealth of things to do to keep you active and motivated over the summer, you’ll never have to worry about not landing that perfect internship. Try any one or more of these options, and see just how productive your summer can be!


Vault Education Editors (2010, June 11). Five Things to Do if You Didn’t Get a Summer Internship. Retrieved from

Madden, S. (2014, March 29). 6 Things To Do This Summer That Aren’t An Internship. Retrieved from Her Campus

Meglio, F. (2012, April 11). No Internship? Don’t Throw in the Towel. Retrieved from Bloomberg BusinessWeek


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