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Don’t wait for an internship. Here’s how to make one yourself.

Updated: May 24, 2023

Summertime is the best respite from the constant lectures and tests during the school year. It’s the time to take a break and reset before heading back to school in the fall. If you’re lucky enough to have an internship, you’ll be spending your time learning in a professional setting and developing your skills as you become a stronger candidate for your dream job down the line.

Didn’t get an internship this summer? Don’t worry, you’re in the majority! An overwhelming 64% of students who are actively looking for internships get turned down. That still leaves you with plenty of time in the summer to explore careers, upgrade your skills, and get a leg up for the next time you’re looking for internships. Here are 3 projects that you can work on in the meantime.

Build a Following on Social Media

Have you ever wanted to get TikTok or Instagram famous? Now’s your chance. While you might not hit full virality in the summer, developing the dedication and creative power to build a consistent following on a social media platform is an impactful way to get employers to notice your skills.

How do you do it?

First, write down the areas in your life that you feel the most interested in. Do you have a unique perspective on a certain hobby of yours, or are you on a journey to get better at some skill? If you can’t think of anything, this could be the perfect reason to find something new.

Next, choose a platform that has other creators in the same hobby or space. Research your favorite creators, try imitating some of their styles to start, and before you know it, you’ll be developing your own voice and style. Challenge yourself to stick to a consistent posting schedule, and you’ll be on your way to developing a digital following!

Why would this help your career?

Being able to grow on social media shows an employer that you are dedicated enough to stick to a self-made schedule and drive outcomes. Tracking metrics associated with your fan base growth and engagement are a sure fire way to boost your resume. It’ll also show your personality more fully, helping employers go beyond the interview or resume and see the real you.

Pick up Freelance Gigs

Have you ever looked through Fiverr postings and thought, “I could do that!” Or do you think those projects are out of your reach? Luckily, you have a whole summer to figure it out!

How do you do it?

Think of what skills you have that might fit the tasks that people need done: graphic design, writing, coding projects, or anything else you see. Pick one or two small projects to start off on Fiverr or Upwork, and commit to watching a few tutorials on YouTube with these projects in mind. Make sure you limit yourself to two days maximum between finding the job posting and trying it out yourself! You’ll learn a lot faster from doing a project hands on rather than waiting.

Use these projects to start your portfolio. As you see your portfolio and confidence grow, try out some of the low-stakes smaller jobs on freelance boards, and ask for feedback on your work. Set a goal for the number of jobs you want to pick up each week, and you’ll quickly be developing your skills in a new, applicable way when your return to school or start your next job.

Why would this help your career?

Building your resume via freelancing easily translates your skills into a body of work that you can show employers. By seeking out freelancing gigs, you can show a company that you have strong initiative and are a capable self-learner. You can also learn how to value your work more actively — a necessary skill in job negotiations. And last but not least, freelancing itself could turn into a long-term career or it may open the door to one of the organizations you freelanced at!

Volunteer in your Community

Giving back to your community with volunteering opportunities is an excellent way to show that you care about causes and community near to your heart. It’s one of the best ways to spend your time in the summer, introduce you to new passionate people, and boost your employability.

How do you do it?

Start with sites like Volunteer Match or United Way, or search for non-profits in your area. If you can find an email of someone at the non-profit, don’t be afraid to reach out! If they don’t already have information on how volunteers can help, the best way to approach them is to first do your research to what needs they might have. Then you can offer some of your skills and explain how you can support the needs of the organization. Once you’ve found an opportunity that speaks to you, it’s time to apply and give back to your community!

Why would this help your career?

Being an active member of your community shows that you are purpose-driven and exhibit strong leadership qualities. Often, volunteer roles are people-facing and involve constant problem solving. This builds communication and critical thinking skills, both of which are excellent foundational skill to add to your resume.

Even if you don’t have an internship, mean you can still create a fun and meaningful summer as your work toward your goals. Projects of any kind are essential building blocks toward your first internship, co-op, or full-time job. If you’re looking to build professional skills in a specific discipline, consider checking out the open pre-internships available at our platform.

See our industry-specific programs with the links below.

Marketing pre-internship programs here →

Engineering pre-internship programs here →

Data science pre-internship programs here →

Software development pre-internship programs here →

See all programs here →

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