What to do When You Haven’t Completed an Internship

By: Eva

As I round the final turn for my undergrad I find myself in a strange spot. In December I will get an anthropology degree that isn’t directly related to my desired profession, which is career counseling. I actually can’t be a career counseling “intern” since I would need to be enrolled in or have completed a Master’s program in order to interact with people in that manner. But internships meant for anthropology majors don’t overlap with counseling. So… What did I do?

I worked at UMD’s Career and Internship Services! I am a Peer Educator, which means I help students and alumni work on their resumes and refer them to other office services, like internship searches and degree decision counseling. Although I am not an intern and don’t work directly with students like a counselor, this position does give me a lot of exposure to the field. This summer I was one of several student employees to stay on during the break. I took on a lot of fun and challenging projects that are essential to understanding the inner-workings of a modern career office in a four-year public university. Being in a career office for 30 hours a week has also allowed me to talk with the counselors about their profession, be part of office meetings, and see how each person’s role functions as part of a larger whole. I could not have found a more relevant internship if I had tried!

Stack of books; what to do when you haven't completed an internship

What are other options if you can’t find an internship?

Research! If you have done a major research project for a class, with a professor, or on your own time, you can totally list this under the related experience section on your resume.

Hobbies! When I talk with students and alumni in the Career Resource Center I am amazed at how many people have awesome hobbies that are closely related to their desired jobs. Are you a computer science major who codes for fun? Do you want to be a professional photographer or videographer and you take your Canon Rebel with you on your weekend trips up the North Shore? Are you an English major and have your own book review blog? All of those activities can be put on a resume!

Freelance work! I know someone with a graphic design degree who took graduation photos and designed grad party invites during high school. This evolved during college into advertisement design projects for offices on campus, and one of the connections they made on campus helped connect them to their first out-of-college graphic design position. They used a lot of those freelance projects on the resume they used to land that first professional job!

Art Shows! There are a lot of opportunities for photographers, clay artists, print and digital artists, mixed media artists, and even more to get their work out in public. Coffee shops, tattoo studios, business offices, salons, college campuses, banks, restaurants, and city and state government buildings all often have areas dedicated for local artists to show their work. I definitely suggest writing up a quick contract for yourself and the place manager/owner to sign to make sure that your contact info, art, and sales are protected.

Community Programs! Community programs are great ways to get involved in your area as well as gain invaluable experiences. There are tons of local choruses (Twin Ports Choral Project), theaters (The Duluth Playhouse), outdoor education clubs (Youth Outdoors-Duluth), environmental organizations (Environmental Association for Great Lakes Education), and social activist groups (Program for Aid of Victims of Sexual Assault or PAVSA). These are just a few examples of many places you can start to look for an internship alternative.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Eva’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Sharon McCutcheon

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