So You Didn't Land That Summer Internship—Here's How to Keep Building Your Résumé Anyway

May 25th, 2018 at 5:00am
Summer Jobs You Can Do to Build Your Résumé

Let’s face it: Not all of us landed our dream internship this summer. There is absolutely no shame in that (it’s tough out there), but that’s also no reason to lose out on valuable experience for three months. Because while it’s not always obvious, there are plenty of other ways to boost to gain skills, learn new things, and build your experience. So even if the internship was not yet meant to be, take advantage of the plethora of opportunities that are available to you to show your future employers that nothing can stop you from the hustle. Keep scrolling for 11 summer jobs, projects, and other activities you can do to keep adding to that résumé and help you make the most of your summer break.

Take summer classes: If you’re reading this, it’s not too late…to take a summer class. Many colleges offer shortened classes for the summer, so if you missed the first wave, you can register for the second or third summer semester courses. This will not only give you a chance to get ahead, but will also free up your schedule for any fall internships you’re interested in pursuing. So while it may not immediately help you build your résumé, it could pay off in the long run—and ensure you’re not wasting any time sitting at home.

Become a freelance writer: It can take a good bit of research and some major hustling to find the right job and send the winning pitch, but freelance writing is a great way to bulk up your portfolio with professional, published work. It also helps that you get paid for all your efforts—which often isn’t the case with summer internships.

Get a summer job: They can be surprisingly fun, educational, and a helpful addition to your growing résumé. Look out for jobs that are in the industry you wish to enter, like finding an open sales position in retail or working as a receptionist at a big fashion company. Although these type of jobs may not be as glamorous, they are a perfect way to get your foot in the door and show off your work ethic and dedication to a brand.

Shadow someone in the workplace: Reach out to local professionals in your area that work at a company or in a position that is of interest to you. Shadowing a professional is a great way to better understand your dream job, ask the questions the internet can’t answer, and make connections that will help you in the future. Plus, that person could end up being a great connection to have in your network.

Build your brand: Think of social media as a platform that highlights your creative work and represents who you are as an individual. Depending on the job, employers now inspect your social media accounts to see if you would be a good fit for the brand. Taking the time to create professional content that speaks to your creativity and your work can actually boost your chances of landing the job.

Start a passion project: It’s never too late to start that project you’ve always wanted to do. Just envision your younger self yelling at you for not starting that YouTube channel you always promised yourself you would make. Now is the time! Yes, it could be a great business endeavor for you, but it’s also something you could add to your portfolio as well.

Volunteer: Getting involved in clubs, non-profits, and other volunteer organizations can be good for the heart, soul, and, yes, even your résumé. Having volunteer experience shows great qualities about your character to a potential employer and conveys to the employer that there is a high likelihood that you would be a team player in an office environment.

Master a skill: If the “skills” section of your resume is looking a bit empty, try carving a couple hours out of your day each week to learn and master a new trade. Between Youtube, podcasts, and websites like SkillShare, it is easy to learn a new skill, software or technique that will look great on your résumé.

Become a movie extra: Yes, it’s random, but hear me out: This is a great way to make money fast while getting an inside look at the entertainment, makeup, and fashion industry. As someone who recently stumbled upon a local casting website, read a post looking for females for an upcoming scene, sent an email, and within 24 hours was on a blockbuster movie franchise set standing next to some of the biggest actors in the business—I can say with total confidence that you learn so much, get the opportunity to mingle with industry insiders, and make connections that will benefit you in a wide range of career fields.

Travel: There’s so much to gain by spending time exploring a new part of the world. Traveling can give you insight into other cultures and inspire your creative side. This is also a great opportunity to visit companies in the area that you hope to work and live in someday.

Create a professional websiteYour future self will thank you big time for this. This website should be a place where employers can go to easily see samples of your work and résumé, as well as to find out all about you. Website builders like WordPress and Squarespace are perfect for this type of page.

What are you doing to build your résumé this summer? Let us know in the comments below!

Opening image by Shirley Mak.


  • Reagan Conrad

    Hello fellow fashion lovers! My name is Reagan and I am a media and broadcasting major at Millersville University in Pennsylvania! I recently transferred here after studying at Temple University in order to pursue a dream of mine; opening a clothing store! I am obesessed with anything vintage. I love vintage items because they are unique, stand the test of time, and have a great deal character! I started a vintage clothing store called Soul & Seam Vintage because I wanted to share my love of vintage with the world! Right now, my favorite decade to rock is definitely the 90's! I may be a bit biased due to my age and love of the TV show, Friends, but there is no debating that high waisted mom jeans are the best! (; I know it may sound strange to be majoring in broadcasting yet spending my free time focusing on business. The great thing about college is that you have the opportunity to explore many different avenues to find your true passion! I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on fashion, travel, lifestyle and much more with all of you this semester!