Alternate Summer Plans in AMC

There are many ways to meet your career goals over the summer beyond an in-person, structured internship. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Think Local

​​​​​​​Depending on where you live, there may be ways to build experience and relationships close to home. Consider the skills or insights you’re looking to gain, and then scan the member directory on your community’s chamber of commerce. You can look for summer jobs at for-profit businesses, or reach out to nonprofits to create a meaningful volunteer opportunity.

Go Virtual

  • Internships + Jobs – Some companies and organizations are offering remote internships/jobs. Do a filtered search on Handshake to find ones geared towards college students. Before accepting an offer, you will want to find out how much mentorship you would receive. Meaningful internships are about receiving training, not just on-the-job experience.
  • Volunteer – There are online platforms for remote volunteer projects. Tasks vary greatly across disciplines; for example, you could record audio of public domain books, translate, or identify wildlife. Visit here for a list of organizations in need of remote help.

Build Your Portfolio

​​​​​​​Some industries are all about work samples. Why wait for others to give you meaningful assignments? Use this time for creation. Depending on your industry, you could:

  • ​​​​​​​Animation – Develop your own work using digital platforms.
  • Dance – Choreograph for who you have — even if it’s just solo material for yourself.
  • Film – Write that screenplay or pilot. Make movies – using your phone or any other equipment available to you.
  • Graphic Design – Build your own logos and infographics; give yourself imaginary assignments.
  • Music – Work on your technical skills and your repertoire. Compose. Form an ensemble with your cohorts. Imagine the virtual possibilities of your group, and/or perform in ways that don’t involve large gatherings.
  • Radio – Make your own podcast.
  • Studio Art – Create. If you can’t use your favorite media, then learn new skills.
  • Theatre – Find (and rehearse) more monologues for auditions (both 1-minute and 2-minute). Write that play. Get some friends together and create projects under your own company name – even if you are finding virtual ways to make theatre events happen. Just make sure you are obeying copyright laws when it comes to any type of performance.
  • Writing – Now’s the time to tackle that novel, series of short stories, or poems. Interested in reporting or reviewing? Hunt down your own stories and publish your work on a blog.


  • Create a professional website to showcase your portfolio or work accomplishments. You can make one for free and without coding experience with Wix.
  • Make compelling business cards that capture the essence of your work.

Enhance Your Skillsets

  • Use online classes and tutorials such as LinkedIn Learning (signing on with your Grinnell credentials) to gain hard skills (Adobe Creative Suite, anyone?) and develop soft skills. The Wilson Center also has a list of remote learning platforms.
  • Build your field-specific knowledge base by familiarizing yourself with the work of different artists, authors, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, playwrights, and theorists, as well as by reading trade periodicals, websites, and blogs.

Boost Your Application Materials

  • Update your master resume.
  • Update your professional networking profiles (LinkedIn and Handshake).
  • If you’re in the arts, create field-specific resumes.
  • Assume that everything online can (and will) be seen by prospective employers. Scourge through your social media accounts and remove anything you wouldn’t want them to see.

Build Networking Relationships

Connect with personal networking contacts (through family or friends) and alums (through  LinkedIn). Start with an informational interview, and see where it leads.

Explore Grad School and Test Prep

Considering grad school after Grinnell? Look into different programs and what they offer. If they require tests such as the GRE, you could start doing test prep (including that always-useful skill builder, vocabulary!).

Take Assessments

You can take assessments at the CLS to help you determine your interests and preferences. Schedule an appointment on Handshake to get started.

Research the Job Market

  • Learn what types of jobs are available through resources such as O*Net and Career One Stop.
  • Look at industry-specific job boards, scanning for marketable job titles and highly sought-after skills.
  • Read the book What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles to learn about job hunting in general, and to engage in guided self-reflection activities that will boost your chances of success.

Meet with Your CLS Adviser

The CLS is open year-round. Use Handshake to schedule your appointment and come up with a customized plan today!