You didn't land a summer internship. Now what?

Here are six other things you can do this summer

By Published on .

Ed Frankel, MediaCom
Ed Frankel, MediaCom

At MediaCom, summer isn't just marked by hot weather and allergies, no sir. The flowers blooming outside our offices mean it's time to select the year's class of summer interns!

Each year, we get several hundred applications from talented students looking for great summer opportunities.The influx gives us a chance to meet many promising students, but -- with only a certain number of intern slots to fill -- we end up making some tough decisions every year. If you have not been chosen for a summer internship, remember: an internship is not your ultimate goal. Your true objective is to get a full-time job after graduation, and there are plenty of ways to get experience that will help you reach this ultimate objective.

Allow me to share a fairly common scenario: two recent college grads interview for full-time entry level roles. One has several internships on her resume; the other does not. Who gets hired? Both do, because the applicant lacking internship experience had more than compensated for it by finding other ways to demonstrate leadership, prove interest and build her network.

Here are five ways that you can make it happen:

  1. 1. Extra-curricular activities are a great place to start. Are you using your available time wisely? Run for office. Lead a philanthropic event. Organize a summer event that unites and educates.

  1. 2. Get some experience that's relevant to the profession you are targeting. Interested in writing? Join the school paper. Like music? Visit your college radio station. Art? Museum. Food? Find a great local chef and ask for a shot (even if it's for a finite period and/or it's unpaid).

  1. 3. Travel. Where to? It depends on what interests you. Interested in a career in advertising? Visit friends already in the business. Connect with school alumni and ask for exploratory interviews. Make a day of it.

  1. 4. Take classes. I get it: taking classes over the summer may not sound ideal. It can, however, give you a boost if your area of study is relevant to your employment objective. And remember: you don't have to take them at your college to get credit for them. Most colleges will accept credits from accredited universities depending on the field of study. Find a school in a place that excites you, find a class that grabs you and make it happen. Don't let housing get in your way. Check out www.airbnb.com for temporary housing solutions.

  1. 5. Volunteer. It doesn't matter where you live: there are organizations in your neighborhood that would love to have your help. If you're not sure where to start, www.Serve.gov is a great resource that will offer you nearly endless options.

  1. 6. (BONUS!) Have fun. Forget about your resume. Forget about demonstrating why you are great. Spend the summer getting to know yourself. Read a few books, catch up on films that passed you by, practice your cooking skills. Enrichment often comes from the strangest places, so going for it will build your confidence and help develop your point of view.

Whatever approach you take, stay connected to your peers, mentors, professors and the organizations that interview you. LinkedIn is a great place to start, but don't forget Twitter: if you engage with people you'd like to know, maybe they'll follow you back… and a real conversation may not be far behind.

The choice is yours. Do what you enjoy, get creative and success will be yours.

About the Author

Ed Frankel is partner-director of U.S. talent acquisition for MediaCom, leading all recruiting efforts across MediaCom's offices in New York, Chicago, Ann Arbor and Los Angeles. Ed currently manages a team of recruiters to discover and deliver the top industry talent across all MediaCom positions. He also oversees all recruiting efforts, including the employee referral program, alumni networking, career fair involvement and campus outreach. Ed graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in political science.

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