Make the most of your summer break even without an internship

Speaking from personal experience, going into summer break without an internship can definitely be discouraging. However, it is not a reason or excuse to do nothing with your time over the summer. There are plenty of things you can do without an internship to improve your candidacy for the following year. Here are ten ways you can make good use of your time.

  1. Review your resume – there are plenty of resources on the Business Career Center website to help you revise your own resume. They can be found here.
  2. Learn something new on LinkedIn Learning. Penn State gives students free access to thousands of educational videos on the site. Whether you work on a technical skill related to your major or a creative skill such as Photoshop, your new skill could set you apart from others during the next recruiting cycle. 
  3. Speaking of LinkedIn, it never hurts to devote some time to your profile. Make sure you have some content on your page. And PLEASE have a professional headshot as your profile picture.
  4. Start researching companies of interest. Good interviewers can tell whether you have done your research. They want to know you are passionate about their company. Sometimes, that can make a difference between you or someone else receiving an offer. 
  5. Do some networking. This expands on the last step. If you got contact information from any recruiters over the course of the year, reach out to them. Try to learn more about their experience with the company. See if they are willing to connect you with other employees. You can also search Linkedin for the Penn State Alumni page to make some connections. You’d be surprised how far Penn State Alumni will go to help out a stranger who attends their alma mater. 
  6. Consider doing research for a professor. If you are close with a professor, it’s worth a shot to see if they are aware of any research opportunities that are related to your major.
  7. If there are no research opportunities available, apply for a job. Although a non-professional summer job might not seem too glamorous, it can still provide valuable experience for common behavioral interview questions. *This assumes there are no issues related to COVID-19*
  8. Take a class or two to get ahead. This could free up some time during your fall semester so you can place some extra focus for recruiting events and job applications. Your summer classes can be through Penn State or your local community college. Determine which is right for you by considering the financial and credit transfer implications.
  9. Brush up on your interview skills toward the end of the summer. Use the resources on the BCC website and you can even practice with your peers and parents. I didn’t do this over the summer going into my junior year and I embarrassed myself during an interview in July; I froze up on a common behavioral question that I should have nailed. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
  10. Relax a little – it’s summer break! You worked hard over the past year and, to top things off, you are dealing with a global pandemic. The least you can do is take some time for yourself.
By Elliot Solomon
Elliot Solomon