Try New Things This Summer!
Unfortunately not all of us are able to forego a "traditional" summer job in retail or restaurants for an unpaid internship. For those who can, I hope you appreciate the privilege and make the best of it. How do you make the best of it? One surefire way is to try new things. Try new industries, try new cities, try new companies. The differences in culture, work/life balance, and people will likely provide you with more insight as to what type of work you'd like to pursue after graduation than any of the actual work which you'll do during the internship itself. The benefits of building a broader, more diverse network and seeing the cultural differences between various settings will likely serve you better than working back-to-back summers at the same firm in the same city, even if it's Apple.
For those of us where circumstances make an unpaid internship untenable, "traditional" jobs can mimic an internship in exposure in some cases. Entertainment industry? Work at a concert venue. Technology? Apple has 250 stores in the U.S. and Best Buy has 1000. Banking? Practice your math skills and become a teller. These examples are all paid and all provide you an opportunity to learn a business from the ground up and provide great exposure to customers.
Don’t know where to start? Reach out to a counselor whether its high school or college, in most cases they’ll be able to put you in contact with an alumni in the specific industry. Ask your friends, you’ll be surprised who’s uncle / aunt / or other friend of a friend can help you. Also, this might sound obvious, but go online! Websites, like Linkedin, Indeed, Monster, and others. Let us know how the search goes, we love getting feedback.