Woman pondering out an office window thinking about alternatives to internships

February 25, 2019, by Katy Johnson

Alternatives to Internships

By Kathryn Moss, Employability Officer


If you haven’t got an internship lined up for the summer this year, don’t panic! There are other ways to have a productive summer break while building skills and experience to boost your CV! Read on for my four alternatives to internships  

1. Volunteering 

University vacation times are a fantastic opportunity to spend time volunteering. Whether you choose to help a local charity or whether you chose to go further afield; the skills that you can develop through this are endless. There is a great website called Doit.org that you can search for local volunteering opportunities that are close to where you live, or you can get in touch with the Student Volunteer Centre here at Nottingham to see what opportunities are available. Alternatively, you could always get in touch with local organisations from your area. See whether they have anything that you could get involved in, it is not often that help will be refused. You can develop team working, time management, work ethic, and many more skills through volunteering which will only enhance your CV for when you are ready to apply for the next opportunity. 

2. Learn something new  

Is there something that you have been itching to learn but haven’t had time because of university? Why not take this time as an opportunity to have a go? There aren’t many times during the university term to have several weeks to concentrate on something other than your studies. This is a perfect opportunity to practice something new. If you have been thinking of learning to code, learning a new language or simply brushing up on an existing skill that you have neglected, use this time well. Showing that you have the commitment and dedication to learning new skills is an attractive trait that employers love. It shows curiosity and ability to learn something new. There are several free online courses that you can explore, such as Open Learn and Future Learn  

3. Take on some casual work 

When I was a student (far too long ago); internships were not so much of a “thing” so it was mostly expected that students would take on some casual work over the summer months to earn money. I had a range of interesting temporary roles during my time at university which, on reflection still gave me some valuable skills. I was then able to use these skills when I started to plan for my future after university. Working in a bar, working in a shop, in a call centre and various administrative temporary roles gave me time management, customer service, communication skills (to name a few). Not only that, I found that the more I worked, the more I discovered things that I enjoyed (and some that I didn’t). This really helped with choosing my first job after university. A lot of casual work can be found through local online jobs boards or by approaching businesses directly with your CV, but if you are looking for something that is based in Nottingham, why not try Unitemps – your onsite recruitment agency for part-time and casual work.  

4. Travel  

There aren’t many times in your life after university that you will have the time to go on an extended trip abroad. The summer vacation is a perfect time to go and see the world whilst you take a pause from your studies. You could combine your travels with getting some work experience abroad. If you are looking to undertake work experience abroad, don’t forget that you could apply for a grant from the university to help with the cost of your travels. Not only does travelling give you a well-deserved rest between your studies, but you may also find that you develop new skills that you didn’t know you had.  

If you are still unsure about what to do over the summer and would like to discuss your options with a careers advisor, why not come to one of our drop-ins or make an appointment online. Visit our website for more details.  

Posted in Careers Advice