No Summer Internship? No Problem!

Greetings to you all! I’d like to thank Michele Posehn for all of contributions to the Student Branding Blog and for her introduction as she passed the Sodexo baton to me in her last post. I look forward to sharing career advice and job hunting strategies with you! As we move forward together, I welcome you to connect with me.

With another school year officially on the books, many students are welcoming the slower pace of summer without papers to write or exams to study for. However, since summer is often the best time to build experience in your future career, many students secure a summer internship. But, what if you couldn’t find one? No problem! There are lots of other ways you can start building your resume and your experience. Here are a few ideas:

Volunteer for a Cause

While volunteer work won’t help you save money for school, it will help you gain some valuable skills and allow you to start building your professional network. Look for organizations that match your personal and professional interests. Many nonprofits can’t afford to pay for interns, but they’re always looking for energetic and ambitious volunteers. Search municipal and county web sites for local organizations or check sites like and Spend your summer making a difference – in your community and your career.

Get a Job

Waiting tables at a local restaurant or working in a retail store at the mall may not seem like the ideal way to build experience for your future career – but consider what you learn in these jobs before you discount them. From time management to customer service, you’ll flex your both organizational and management abilities, as well as your ability to multitask. And, if you volunteer to lead a special project for the summer, you’ll even gain some valuable project management experience.

Go Temporary

If you haven’t secured a summer job, consider working for a temp agency. These companies offer temporary assignments at local businesses to fill in when a worker goes on leave or to provide additional help on a short-term project. Temp agencies offer short-term assignments and the opportunity to work at several different companies over the course of the summer – all while giving you sharpened skills and a chance to test out different types of business environments. Even better, some of these temporary assignments can become permanent. Check out companies like Kelly Services or the American Staffing Association for opportunities near you.

Learn a New Skill

Have you looked at job descriptions for the type of job you’d like to have after graduation? Have you noticed any skill requirements that you may not have? Perhaps it’s a second language or a specific computer skill that you lack. The summer is a great time to work towards these goals while you’re not bearing the weight of a full course load. Many local community colleges offer summer classes for academic credit or noncredit adult education classes that are specifically designed to help you gain skills quickly. Any skills that you gain over the summer will give you an advantage when you seek a fall internship or future job.

Network, Network, Network

The summer is a great time to start building your network – both online and in person. Many Chambers of Commerce and other local organizations host social events in the summer for their members. Getting involved in these events is a great way to start meeting people in your career who could become a mentor or influential contact down the road. You may even consider talking to your professors about which organizations are the best choice for you and if they have any contacts with whom you can connect. And, you can begin building your online network by becoming active in relevant LinkedIn groups and growing conversations on Twitter. Remember, the key to online networking is to build relationships, not just make a connection.

So, what will be your greatest accomplishment this summer? Will you get involved with a local nonprofit? Will you learn a new language? Whatever you choose, choose something that will help you prepare for the future. Every moment counts, even if you don’t have an internship. In fact, not having an internship could point you towards opportunities you never would have considered otherwise. Good luck!


Trish is a senior communications manager for Sodexo, a world leader in quality of daily life solutions that contribute to the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. As a member of the marketing and communications team for Sodexo’s Talent Acquisition department since 2010, Trish is an employment expert who aims to educate job candidates about the hiring process, networking opportunities and the culture of Sodexo. A graduate of Marist College (BA – Psychology) and the University of Southern Mississippi (MS – Public Relations), Trish has never been far from the classroom. As a former adjunct professor for the College of Charleston and professional advisor for the college’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter, she enjoys helping students reach for their potential and guide them through the process of preparing for their future careers. A lover of technology and gadgets, cookies, chocolate and baking, Trish spends most of her free time raising two small children and competing with husband to obtain the most stamps in her National Parks Passport book. Feel free to connect with Trish or learn more about careers at Sodexo.

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  • Dan Schawbel

    Dan Schawbel, the founder of the Student Branding Blog, is a world renowned personal branding expert, the international bestselling author of Me 2.0, as well as the publisher of the Personal Branding Blog.

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    Chelsea Rice is the editor-in-chief of the Student Branding Blog. She began her work for just before graduating from Boston University, where she studied journalism and minored in international relations.

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