What to do if you didn't get your summer internship

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Not everyone who wants an internship over the summer will be able to land one, and even fewer will get the ideal one they want. This is especially true if you’re in the first year of your course as many companies prioritise students with more experience.

Finding experience outside of an internship

  • Research local companies and apply for a week or two of job shadowing

  • Apply for temp jobs

  • Drop your CV off at smaller companies and ask to speak to someone about a placement

  • Get in touch with people in the industry

  • Apply to a broader range of jobs, this experience might end up being valuable

  • Consider remote opportunities

Gaining skills outside your field

There is a lot of value to be found in gaining experience outside of your chosen field and you’ll also add to your transferable skills, which can be used in many different sectors.

  • Getting a part time job in any industry will help you develop soft skills that are valuable to employers

  • Learn technical skills that might be useful in your field such as using Excel

  • Volunteer at a charity, this is also a good way to build up your soft skills

  • Dedicate time to a project you are passionate about or create your own project. This can be something practical that helps the local community, something directly related to your course such as contributing to open-source software or something creative like an art project, contributing to a student newspaper or a performance.

  • Take up a sport

Many types of work can be relevant to a job application. You can demonstrate important skills through volunteering, travelling, extracurricular activities and part-time jobs. For example, a student who has travelled solo shows organisation and planning, independence, confidence and people skills.

You can also use your time to identify any skills gaps and find a way to bridge them. Look at job descriptions and identify skills that are in demand and that you don not currently have. You can learn using online tutorials. You can often find free tutorials on platforms such as YouTube. Once you have mastered the skill, try finding a project to apply it to.

Industry experience strengthens your CV, but recruiters are also interested in applications from students who have developed relevant skills through other experience or extracurricular activities.

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