Alexa, play Someone Like You.

Remember when you were a kid, and working during the summer was the last thing you wanted to do?

This year, you started updating your resumé in January. You researched relevant companies, wrote cover letter after cover letter and networked until your head spun. You did everything you were supposed to do, all in the name of getting your hands on some sweet, sweet job experience.

And yet, it still didn’t pay off. Or maybe it did, and you had a position secured, but you’ve since been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I feel you.

It hurts knowing you put your heart and soul into landing a summer internship and feeling like it was all for nothing. But, as our pop princess Kelly Clarkson would say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

This summer doesn’t have to go to waste because you don’t have anything lined up. If you play your cards right, you can use your extra time to amplify your skillset and become a candidate no company can refuse.

Don’t burn bridges

When a company doesn’t hire you, it doesn’t mean they don’t like you. And you shouldn’t dislike them, either!

Maybe you had an interview you thought went really well and you were politely shut down. Maybe you were shortlisted before the interviewing process began. Either way, say thank you.

Reach out to the companies you applied for, thank them for their consideration and wish them the best going forward. It may seem small, but it’s a fantastic way to turn rejection into opportunity. Remaining gracious and cordial, even after receiving bad news, is a trait many executives admire.

You never know when a company might have another opening, so keep those connections alive!

Get that bread

All employment is good employment. You might not have an internship related to your program, but a summer job will still help you develop transferable skills and earn some money for the fall.

I know looking for a position in the midst of a pandemic can feel hopeless. To make it easier, the University of Guelph-Humber has a comprehensive list of businesses currently hiring.

It’s updated regularly, so check back often to find something that interests you.

Up your game

Learn something new

One of the most attractive things about summer internships is the way they help you develop career-related skills. But, you can do that all on your own!

Humber and UofGH students have free access to LinkedIn Learning, an online education platform featuring over 15,000 classes taught by experts on everything from design to storytelling to entrepreneurship. Video lessons range from minutes to hours in length; so, whether your schedule is jam-packed or completely clear, you can easily find something that fits your lifestyle.

Once you complete a course on LinkedIn Learning, you’ll receive a certificate validating your achievement and verifying your newly acquired skills. Add this certificate to the list of relevant abilities on your resumé or submit it along with your cover letter in your next online application to make yourself stand out from the crowd.

LinkedIn Learning certificates can also be easily added to your LinkedIn profile, giving recruiters direct access to your accomplishments.

Next stop: knowledge.

Lend a hand

Paid experience isn’t the only way to get hired. Volunteering increases your chance of landing a job by 27 per cent, according to a 2013 study by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Engaging in community work provides a host of valuable benefits that shape you into the ideal candidate. It expands your network, builds confidence and, of course, yields relevant experience.

Contributing to a favourite charity is a great place to start; it shows recruiters you’re passionate about your beliefs.

But, hey, remember those industry connections you kept alive? Here’s where you can really make the most of them. Ask a company you applied to if they need a hand with any upcoming projects. Chances are, they’ll be grateful for the assistance and impressed with your eager attitude.

The next time a hiring season comes around, you’ll be one of the first people to come to mind.

Listen to the experts

Did you know Humber and UofGH offer free career advising services to students? Even better, did you know these services are available virtually to help students while campuses are closed due to COVID-19?

For Humber students

Humber’s career services experts are available remotely for advising appointments, mock interviews and resumé and cover letter review—basically all the same services they offer in person!

To book an advising appointment, find the Career & Student Success Advisor for your faculty. Click on the booking link in their profile or contact them directly using their provided email address.

To book a mock interview or to have your resumé, cover letter or LinkedIn profile reviewed, schedule a virtual appointment through WC Online. Select the schedule for either North or Lakeshore Peer resume/LinkedIn/Interview.

Alternatively, do some independent prep by using Humber’s career assessment tools to find the profession best suited to your personality and explore careers in various fields!

For UofGH students

UofGH offers a huge network of online career resources, featuring everything from career planning methods to resumé tips to job search strategies.

For more personalized advice, send an email to the Career Services Coordinator for your program. If you aren’t sure which coordinator corresponds to your field of study, contact career@guelphhumber.ca for assistance.

Preparation is power. Upgrade your resumé, enhance your interview skills and inform yourself on various industries so you head into all future applications calm, cool and collected.

This summer isn’t a waste of time. It’s a chance for you to make connections, earn some cash and strengthen your abilities.

You’re a hard-working, deserving young professional. I know, because you read this article. You clearly care about building your career.

Internship or no internship, that will never change.