Internships, especially in college, are a highly sought-after way to build a resume. However, it’s not the only way to make you an attractive job applicant. You are still incredibly capable of building your skillset without an internship. I didn’t have any internship experience when I graduated college, and although it took me a while, I landed a full-time job with a Fortune 100 company. This post is about how 5 ways you can build your resume without internship experience.
A little about me: I graduated college in 2019 with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. I was pre-med up until January of my senior year, and decided that I wanted to work in the business sector of the tech industry. By then, I had zero internships on my resume, and a handful of experiences I had to learn to leverage for my job search. Six months after graduating, I finally landed a few offers!
Here are 5 ways to build your resume with no internship experience.
1. Learn a skill
One of the most important things you can do to build your resume is to learn a skill.
I know. Probably not exactly the advice you want right now. I’m saying this first because I want you to head into the rest of this post with this mindset.
Skills come in many shapes and forms, and the skill you want to develop depends on the job that you are going for.
If you’re aiming for analyst positions, then try to learn Python. If you’re aiming for marketing, then build up your social media and copy-writing skills.
You can learn new skills through classes, or personal projects. That’s the great thing! I’ll include a small list of possible skills you can include in your resume based on my suggestions.
2. Start Your Own Business
Skills: Design, Project Management, Research, Adobe Photoshop, Canva, Google Suite, Marketing, Social Media Marketing, SEO
Soft Skills: Work Ethic, Initiative-taking, Creativity, Detail-Oriented
(Note: Please excuse the somewhat awkward phrasing of the skills. A lot of these skills come off a little better when you’re listing your description in your resume.)
It’s definitely not limited to these skills, because there is so much learning that goes on when you start your own business.
This sounds intimidating, but it’s actually not that difficult. You don’t have to start the next Amazon or Facebook. Instead, you can turn to online methods that are both accessible and easy-to-use.
Note: Easy-to-use does not mean that starting your own business will be an easy process. It’s going to take hard work and a lot of time.
I personally started my own small publishing business through Amazon KDP. It’s free and relatively simple. My company focused on designing and creating low-content books (notebooks, planners, journals, etc.).
My biggest resources were an Adobe Photoshop trial (or Canva, which I also used and actually prefer for this venture) and Google Docs (to create the interior of the notebook, which was basically a table with many rows and its outer lines removed).
I conducted research of various niches and designed my notebooks accordingly. While I no longer actively design new notebooks, my products are still listed on Amazon, and I make some (although very little) passive income every month!
The great thing about this is that the results are based on your efforts. If I had invested more time and created more products, I would be making more passive income every month now.
I listed this business on my resume, and it was something that recruiters and interviewers loved to ask about. It shows scrappiness and creativity!
3. Tutor and Volunteer
Skills/Soft Skills: Communication, Work Ethic, Project Management, Leadership, Compassion, Writing
Tutoring and volunteering are great ways to build your resume with no internship experience. The great thing about these two methods is that there’s relatively less “gate-keeping” as compared to applying for jobs/internships.
Tutoring comes in many forms. You could be a TA, or tutor on the side. Nowadays, there are many online tutoring organizations. Varsity Tutors is a great option that my friend’s brother worked for! There are both online and in-person options (for pandemic reasons, please opt for the online one for now).
I worked as a tutor for about 5 years, teaching English and SAT writing to students in China over Zoom. It was one of the jobs I had throughout college. I loved the experience!
If you’re tutoring or TA-ing for a certain subject, it shows you’re knowledgeable in that. This comes in handy if it applies to the job you’re going for! (Java for software engineers, statistics for analysts, etc.)
Volunteer experiences are also great to add to your resume. It shows compassion and a willingness to help others. Depending on your position, there are a variety of skills that come with it.
And if you’re already volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about, why not add it to your resume?
One of the biggest things on my resume was a volunteer project I had taken part in during my second year in college. I worked with a group of students on a women’s health project for a semester, and it took us to a foreign country for a month in the summer. We worked with local organizations and schools to implement menstrual health lessons for young girls. (I have a whole other problem with the voluntourism industry, but we’ll get to that in another post.)
4. Conduct Research
Skills: Data Collection, Data Analysis, Communication, Writing, Project Management, etc.
If you’re a college student, this one’s for you. There are so many resources for you when it comes to conducting research.
I recommend you check out the faculty list for the department you’re interested in, and email professors working on projects that you want to be a part of! You can also just reach out to your own professors and ask them.
While not typically paid, you can typically get course credit for research.
I was pre-med and studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, so lab research was a huge part of my resume before I started diving into business.
You don’t have to stick with wet labs! There are plenty of research opportunities in English, Sociology, Computer Science, Business, and History departments as well.
Many of the skills you can add to your resume will depend on your specific role. It’s huge, especially if you’re managing your own research project!
Skills: Copy-writing, Writing, Business Writing (this is pretty self-explanatory)
Depending on what role or job that you’re going for, this may be an option for you. If you enjoy writing, then do it!
With the growing virtual environment, sharing your thoughts and expertise online is much easier to do nowadays.
You could even start your own blog!
There are also many platforms out there. Medium is a great one, and you can even get paid! I personally haven’t written for Medium, but I do plan to!
If you’re in college, you can look into your campus newspaper or yearbook. It’s never too late!
I joined my university’s newspaper in my senior year, because it was something that I always wanted to do, but never got around to. I wrote pieces for the Arts and Entertainment section, and got to attend a few free concerts if I wrote reviews! A win-win situation all around.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful in learning to build your resume with no internship experience. Leave a comment below if you have any questions, and feel free to reach out!
Related: 5 Ways To Make Your Resume Stand Out