Most students today think they need to follow a set path during their university years – study hard during the semester, ace all their finals, while also securing your summer internship at your dream company (not to mention balancing a social life and sleep).
However, everything does not always work out as planned, and so maybe you might find yourself panicking if you don’t have something lined up for this summer.
Well fear not, we’re here to tell you that this is completely okay! There isn’t one set way for you to build up skills in your target career, so here are some other ways that you can continue your professional development during the summer and make it productive – without an internship.
1. Work on a project
Most summer internships involve working on some type of project, but don’t let the lack of a formal internship stop you from working on your own! A project related to your field of interest and on a topic you’re interested in will give you the opportunity to learn various new skills throughout the process, including brainstorming, decision-making, time management, failures (and learning from them), and so much more.
For example, if you’re a software engineer, build an app that solves a problem. If you’re in marketing, develop a campaign for one of the top companies you’ll apply to. If you’re interested in UX/UI, reach out to a small business to help them update their website.
Following your own schedule to complete this project will not only show a future employer how motivated and proactive you are, it will also make the entire process more fulfilling. By the end of the summer, you’ll have something that you can be proud of to showcase on your CV.
2. Master technical skills
Is there a skill you’ve always wanted to pick up but didn’t have time because of all your schoolwork? Now’s the time to not only improve on your core skillset but also to learn new skills relevant to your career!
There are tons of free online resources and workshops you can use to upskill this summer. For anything tech, General Assembly hosts workshops on topics such as product management, design, and data analytics. Try LeetCode or Code Academy for a gameified way to learn programming. Online course platforms such as LinkedIn Learning, Skillshare, and Udemy offer free trials as well.
And if you want a classroom experience, check out H Academy where you can get immersed in a new skill and learn from some of the best industry experts.
Make the most of your time this summer and come back into the school year with a new skill on your CV.
3. Build a powerful network in your targeted industry
Don’t wait until job hunting season to connect with people. Here at Workhap, we believe networking is all about building relationships, and it starts with a simple hello (see our blog post 3 Do’s and Don’ts of Networking on LinkedIn!).
If you haven’t already, start reaching out to people in your industry right away and work on nurturing those relationships over time. Not only can these connections potentially introduce you to your next job, but talking to them will also help you learn more about your targeted industry or company in general.
But remember – add value in your interactions as well, not just extract it.
4. Lastly – relax! An internship doesn’t make or break your career
The internship search and application process can be extremely exhausting and can often have an unhealthy impact on one’s self-esteem and mental health. If you spent your semester looking for a summer internship and didn’t get one, you still deserve a pat on the back for trying!
Remember that internship offers are far more about compatibility rather than inherent worth, so don’t take the rejection personally. It’s easy to compare yourself to your peers but everyone’s career is going to look different. You’ll take what you learned and be better prepared for the next time.
It’s the summer, after all, so don’t forget to take time out for yourself to rest, spend time with loved ones, and do the things that bring you joy! HAGS from the Workhap team. 🙂