Alternatives to an Internship No internship? No problem! Here's how to use creative solutions to build your skill set!
December 2, 2020
One thing many students believe is that they need an internship to stand out on their resumes. Of course, there is a perfect reason to believe this, but having an internship is not the only way you can stand out on your resume. Employers want to see initiative. They want to know that who they are about to hire is going to be ambitious with their work and go above and beyond to ensure success within the company. Previous work experience is beneficial and is a desired aspect of one’s resume, but that doesn’t mean it is your only option. Especially in this day and age, remote work and learning experiences are being seen on resumes now more than ever.
To begin, look at what you have already accomplished. Don’t undermine your accomplishments. Instead, analyze them and ask yourself where exactly you want to go from there.
- Do you want to expand on a certain skill or topic you learned?
- Is there something new you want to try?
- What trait or skill do you want to highlight when an employer looks at your resume?
Whether or not you answered these questions, I have included below some amazing alternatives to an internship that can have the same impact as an internship would.
Building Your Skill set
Reminder! You can include LinkedIn Learning courses you’ve taken on your resume. It is a great way to show you’ve taken initiative!
First of all, every Chapman student has access to LinkedIn Learning. It is a free resource that can help build both soft and hard skills. Personally, I have used LinkedIn Learning to introduce myself to new topics that I considered adding as a major or minor to my studies. I have also used it to strengthen my skills in certain programs like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, and WordPress. It is important to note that after you have taken appropriate LinkedIn Learning courses, you can add them to your resume in the absence of an internship. It proves to employers that you have taken initiative and it can be a great conversation starter in an interview. Just make sure you know what you’re talking about!
Microsoft Data Analytics Certification
This course is directed more towards data analytics majors and minors, but it can be extremely beneficial for other majors that relate to data analytics. If you need to show your analytical skills on your resume, but your studies don’t correlate with data analytics, you can take this course and gain a certification that can be placed on your resume. It is just as beneficial as a position involving data analytics and it’s free! Sounds like a win-win to me!
MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses)
Fast Fact! If any Ivy League courses catch your attention, you can also find Ivy League MOOCs here.
MOOC is a website that offers courses for all subjects including computer science, multiple languages, humanities, and business and management courses. These courses are offered by schools like MIT, UC Berkeley, Boston University, and some universities from other countries. This is a great way to expand your knowledge and broaden your skills. If you have feelings of expansion beyond your major (alumni), you can use this resource to redirect your path towards a new career. This is also another way to take courses that Chapman may not offer or that may not fit into your schedule but may apply to a future job that interests you. These courses can be added to your resume under “Relevant Coursework” or as an additional educations section (see the Office of Career and Professional Development to schedule an appointment regarding your resume before submitting a job application).
There’s no doubt I have to mention Handshake. It is our number one recommended resource when it comes to finding an internship or job. Our office revolves around Handshake and it would be just plain strange to not mention the resources provided through Handshake. Not only does Handshake post hundreds of new internships and jobs per day, but we also have a special link for those looking for a remote internship. To reach this link, just activate your Handshake account using your Chapman email and password. Once you’ve done so, you should upload your resume, wait for it to be approved by our team and then you’re good to go. This link is a great way to target only remote/virtual internships which give you access to other jobs that may not be within traveling distance to you. One thing to keep in mind is that many of these jobs may not be paid. These are experiences that can help you build your skills, not your wallet (but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any). Happy searching!
Inside Sherpa is a great way to gain the skills required for a job before they hire you for the job. It is similar to online courses, except with their programs you can get free experience completing tasks that you would most likely find at your future position. They mimic entry-level jobs by giving you tasks that you would typically see throughout a typical workday. They are free and can be done in just a few hours. Once completed, you will get a certification that you can put onto your resume and/or LinkedIn so future employers know that you have previous experience doing similar tasks. Internships are all about the experiences and skills learned through the program, and this virtual experience is another great way to get similar results.
Another option for entry-level background experience is through Parker Dewey. This program contains paid, micro-internships that can help you gain experience, similarly to Inside Sherpa. These micro-internships are a great side project that helps build your skills but doesn’t take up all your time. You will be able to get hands-on experience while completing other tasks. Completing these programs can also give you access to employers that connect through the program.
A great way to complete projects that show what you’re capable of is to do freelance work. The website that we recommend is called Freelancer.com. Through Freelancer, you can complete jobs that other people need to be done. These jobs can range from web design, product manufacturing, graphic design, or virtual assistants. These jobs also come from companies like Amazon, Facebook, Nasa, etc. You also get paid for this work! This is a great way to build your portfolio and get a little cash on the side.
No matter what you do, it is important to continuously be working on your professional development. We at the Office of Career and Professional Development offer great resources to help you do so, so don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us. Our contact information can be found at chapman.edu/career or through Handshake.