There’s no getting away from the fact that an internship can be a great opportunity to: earn money, develop skills, meet great people, find mentors, develop your professional networks, and gain market insights. For some sectors it can even fast track your application for graduate roles. But what if you don’t have an internship this summer and it’s worrying you? Well first, let’s focus on the positive. You maybe be avoiding a career that’s just not you and a fasttrack to the wrong job is never a great option.
Also, if you don’t have a summer internship it does give you the opportunity to really think about your next steps. Reading this also shows you’re open to suggestions! An internship is a great way gather/develop evidence of a strong skills set for a job, but you can develop these at anytime during your study and in many ways. The important thing is to review your situation and to take some action:
You have about 10 weeks to ‘spend’ and even short ‘work stints’ or even work shadowing can improve the look of your CV. So maybe break the 10 weeks into manageable chunks. Then think of some of the ways you could spend these 1-2 week chunks: maybe volunteering, doing a short course, organising a student event, doing some pro bono work for a student consulting society, or building your LinkedIn profile and contacts.
After your initial think maybe revisit your original internship objectives. What activities could help you achieve these objectives? Are there gaps on your CV that need attention? Maybe these gaps can be filled without committing all 10 weeks. It can be reassuring to have secured a ‘formal’ internship but this can also be quite restrictive. Approximately a third of small to medium organisations (SMEs) look to speculative applications to fill their open positions and this maybe higher for work experience opportunities. So objectives around this could include a list of skills or contacts to develop. Be creative – even researching the next internship opportunities is a positive narrative, particularly if you involve and facilitate fellow students in a similar position.
Making a plan
Once you have listed some potential objectives make a plan of action. First thing could be to share your ideas with fellow students or come to see us at LSE Careers. Also, why not have a look at our blogs on five ways of getting work experience this summer and five ways volunteering improves your chances of getting a job? Making plan is a good way to take back control – particularly if you are feeling a bit deflated after some internship rejections. It can seem like a big thing not to have an internship but focus your energy and efforts on small manageable tasks to improve your situation.