Job Search Expert’s Tip of the Month – February

Don’t stress over not having an internship this semester

Are you in the final semester of your senior year and panicking to add to your résumé? Or perhaps you still have some college years ahead of you but are looking to score a great internship over the summer. As reported by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers are looking for relevant experience, and you need it…fast.

Here are a few options to add relevant, meaningful experiences to your résumé if you don’t have an internship lined up for the semester:

1. Volunteer at a local nonprofit. Nonprofits are everywhere and are always looking for (free) help. Chances are, no matter your desired career path, you can find a nonprofit in your college town that will provide you with résumé-building experience. (Note: I understand you need to earn money. Unfortunately, these last-minute options are all unpaid, just as many internships. However, learn how to manage your time in order to fit in five to 10 hours each week of work you can add to your résumé, as well as that paying gig.)

2. Offer to take the lead on a class project. Once you get past general education requirements and start taking courses in your major, you will find yourself involved in many group projects. Take them seriously, and offer to take the lead. Often times, major class projects that are developed over the course of the semester can be added to your résumé.

3. Accept a leadership role in a campus organization. In order for this to truly add to your résumé, get involved in the student chapter of your career path’s professional association. It’s not enough to just attend meetings. Become an officer. Organize events. Get involved in any way possible that will be meaningful for future employers.

4. Ask your professors if they need extra help. In the academic world, it’s “publish or perish.” So, they are always working on at least one project. While they will often have paid graduate students already assisting them, they likely won’t turn away an extra free aide. Explain to your professor that you are looking to add relevant experience to your résumé and build a plan together of how exactly you can do that through his or her project.

5. Start your own business. Gather a group of students interested in the same career, select an academic advisor to guide you, and start your own “business,” offering your services to local individuals and companies. A great example of this is the many student-run public relations firms on campuses throughout the country.

~ Heather Huhman, Job Search Expert, Campus Calm

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