How to Gain Experience without an Internship

How to Gain Experience without an Internship

I get it. You're young, you're in college, and you're eager to get your career started. You've been searching for internships, and you're applying for them on a daily basis. But you haven't heard from anyone, or you didn't make the cut, or you missed the deadline for a semester-long co-op.

Don't worry. You might not get an internship right away, and that's okay! The good news is that there's plenty of other ways for you to gain valuable experience, while the right internship opportunity comes along.

Get involved in a local organization.

Colleges are full of activity. There's Greek Life, politics, Quidditch teams, and even scuba diving clubs. Whatever you have a passion for, get out there, and do it! Joining organizations is a great way to meet new friends that have similar interests. Join something that's fun and rewarding.

There are many organizations out there that are geared towards career industries. That's your best option to make meaningful connections with professors and advisers who would love to help you with your resume and career.

Volunteer.

Volunteering is another great way to get involved and show your worth. When you volunteer, you have the chance of learning new skills and making a positive impression. Let's say you really enjoy animals and would love having a PR career working towards animal welfare. What would look great on your resume? Volunteering at a local animal shelter! 

Many volunteer options can even look like a job or a leadership experience on your resume. If there's a subject you're particularly knowledgeable in, sign up to tutor other students that need help.

Attend a seminar or networking event.

Seminars and networking events are a great way to learn something new. The PR world is constantly evolving so it's great to hear advice from industry experts. Networking events are wonderful opportunities that will allow you to introduce yourself to experts and working professionals. You should also take advantage of advancing your personal branding strategy, which I describe in more detail here.

I'm the type of person who likes to learn, so I really enjoy seminars. I know that universities host them frequently. It should be easy for you to attend some free ones on your own campus, or in your local community!

Freelance.

Many people don't know this, but freelance is a hot commodity these days. It used to just be for journalists and talented writers. But because of changing marketing trends, and the evolution of the job market, and the introduction of the internet, there's so many opportunities for freelance work. There's plenty of small businesses out there, and even multi-million corporations, that hire freelancers. 

Freelancing is an excellent option to build expand your portfolio. There are many bloggers that share advice on how to get started on freelancing, and what kind of work you can do. My favorites are here, here, and here.

Are there any other activities you've tried to gain experience?