No Internship? 10 Ways to Stay Productive

Nemanja Glumac / Stocksy

Nemanja Glumac / Stocksy

By Khadejah Stegall

Khadejah is a part of the TLC College Ambassador Program and attends North Carolina A&T University.

You worked hard, applied to internships and you didn’t land one so you are discouraged. We have all been down this road where we feel like our hard work is not paying off. Maybe it’s not your season or maybe you still have some growing to do before you land your next big gig.  Know that there will be different seasons in your career where you are landing great opportunities and seasons where it seems like you can’t get a call back. Whether or not you end up getting an internship, you can still have a productive summer and gain new skills that you could at an internship. Below are ten ways to be productive if you didn’t get an internship.

1. Continue to apply for internships

Some companies do last minute recruiting, or they may have just finished a big project so they are getting back on track with hiring interns. Reach out to your professors and see if they know anyone that is hiring for interns. Use your resources and ask around. Maximizing your resources can help a lot and still possibly land you an internship.

2. Shadow professionals in your field

If you don’t have a professional mentor in your field, you should establish one and ask if you can shadow them a couple of days out of the week that works with your schedule. This will give you the opportunity to meet people in your industry, gain new insight in your field and see if the profession is a right fit for you.

3. Instead of Netflix & chill, Podcast & chill

We all love catching up on our favorite shows on Netflix, especially if we are burnt out from school and need a break. Be strategic about your free time. Find podcasts that are relevant to your industry or find what you love to learn about. If you want to start a blog, it may be helpful to listen to podcasts of people who have been blogging for a while. If you are into entrepreneurship, listen to a podcast by people who own their own business.

4. Attend conferences and networking events

Do your research to see if there are any conferences or networking events that are happening in your industry. This will give you an opportunity to network and meet other people who could potentially employ you. 

5. Read self-help books and relevant articles

Knowledge is power. You can learn a lot from self-help books that can help you grow spiritually. If you’re always reading on different topics and educating yourself, it will be easier for you to start conversations with different people.

6. Invest in yourself

You can invest in Lynda, an online educational company, and learn new skills online that can be valuable to get an internship next time you plan to apply for one. Invest in credible courses you can take that can sharpen the skills you already have or learn new skills.

7. Start a blog or vlog

You can work on your brand and build a following by creating a blog or vlog. This can be something fun for you to do. You can use sites such as WordpressBlogger, or Squarespace to start a blog. You can gain digital media skills by creating a vlog on YouTube.

8. Volunteer and/or mentor

Do you like animals? Are you into empowering the youth? Volunteer at a local animal shelter once a week or mentor a young girl/boy in your area. It’s better to give than receive. It’ll come back to you twice as much.

9. Establish a professional mentor

Be sure to establish a mentor in your field. You can receive advice on how to navigate internship options and they can encourage you throughout your career.

10. Make the best out of everything

However you decide to spend your summer, make the best out of it. Don’t knock a part-time job because it’s not what you wanted to do. Maybe you need to build patience with people or work on multitasking more. Be the best that you can be whether you are working as a cashier or as an intern for a Fortune 500 Company. Spend time with family and friends. And remember, you don’t need to work at a company to challenge yourself, learn new skills or build your network.


Khadejah Stegall is a college mommy blogger that inspires others to achieve the impossible through the power of Jesus. She enjoys family time, eating vegan meals when it's convenient and mentoring others on professional development. To be inspired by more post, follow her blog at khadejahstegall.com