Internships Are NOT the Only Career Opportunities

As we approach the end of the academic year, it is incredibly easy to stress about what you’re doing for the summer. Most undergrads stress about finding “the perfect internship” to have “the perfect summer”, but internships are not the only ways to maximize your summer. In fact, there are plenty of other ways to utilize your summer for professional development and career exploration. Keep reading to find out the many ways to leverage your summer!

  1. Do volunteer work! This is an incredibly underrated way to spend your summer. In addition to being a great way to serve your community and give back, volunteer work signals to employers that you are a compassionate individual with great interpersonal skills and a strong moral compass! If you have interests in clinical healthcare and STEM, volunteer at your local community clinic. If you’re interested in politics, government, and social impact, volunteer with local campaigns, advocacy organizations, or a local government office! Some of my most notable work was when I volunteered with one of the Chicago Cook County Commissioners over winter break, helping with toy drives and assisting in making care packages for the elderly. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities where you can gain relevant skills in your desired field. Moreover, showing employers that you have equally as many soft skills as hard skills will make you a more desirable candidate for jobs and internships.
  2. Work a summer job! There are plenty of part-time and full-time jobs available in the summer. Working a summer job enables college students to gain financial stability, strengthen their interpersonal communication skills, and potentially provide them with relevant experience for future opportunities that resonate with their career goals. For example, if you are a Health, Exercise and Sport Studies major, working part-time or full-time at a gym or health club could be incredibly worthwhile. If you’re a Psychology or Educational Studies major looking to work with children in the future, babysitting or summer camps could be a great work opportunity. If you’re a Communications major, receptionist and customer service jobs could help hone your communication and interpersonal skills! The list goes on. Don’t write off summer jobs as they could be the stepping stone to your next internship.
  3. Ask to shadow a professional or help with a professor’s research. Leverage your network. Reach out to professionals you know to see if they’re looking for volunteers or interns. More than not, they welcome the help. There are also great opportunities for professional experience in research during the academic year. Denison is known for their amazing professors, so it would be a missed opportunity to not connect with them! Faculty work on an array of research topics that might be of interest to you and help you build skills and experience. Don’t be afraid to connect with them via email or during office hours to see if they’re looking for research assistants.

These are just three ways in which you can leverage and maximize the coming summer beyond the traditional internship. Don’t be afraid to give them a try!

By Taylor Trimble
Taylor Trimble Peer Career Fellow: Social Impact, Education and Government