One reason so many students want to work for the Walt Disney Company is the effect it has on a résumé. No matter what industry you go into, people notice if you list the Mouse on your application. It’s an easy conversation starter for interviewers, and the Walt Disney Company offers plenty of opportunities for students to work for them with tons of internships and their infamous college program.
But what if you can’t get one of those internships? What if you constantly apply to Disney jobs but get turned down endlessly? How are you supposed to set yourself apart from that other kid in your major who got to do the Disney College Program when you couldn’t afford to move to Florida for five months? Don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to get “the Disney effect” on your résumé without working at Disney World.
There are actually a million internships out there for companies that aren’t Disney. And just because you don’t work for the Mouse doesn’t mean the company isn’t recognizable and impressive. Nationally recognized nonprofits like the Girl and Boy Scouts look especially fantastic on a résumé. The bonus? You can start getting that experience as early as high school! There are tons of programs devoted to getting students internships for the summer. Ask your guidance counselor or check your city’s website for programs that place students in summer internships. Also, look out for companies with large scholarship funds that place students in summer jobs. Not only do these programs have recognizable names attached to them, but some have scholarship opportunities available as well. Two birds, meet one stone.
Never underestimate the importance of volunteer experience. You could do something as easy as helping out a local event every year, tutoring younger students after school, or going to a soup kitchen every month. Volunteer work always looks good, especially if it’s long term. Plus, there’s the invaluable benefit of helping people. Even though the help you give is more important than the name attached to it, there are a lot of well-known places that always need volunteers, such as the American Red Cross, the Boys & Girls Club of America, and the ASPCA. DoSomething.org has tons of opportunities to get involved if you don’t know where to start. You can also come up with ways to help out locally—consider asking local companies to partner in sponsoring a charity event or volunteer day within your community!
So you were an extra in that new Oscar-nominated film? Your school band performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? The Rose Bowl Parade? You did the voice-over for a regional commercial? Write that stuff down! Especially if you do something so large scale like those examples, you can count that as professional experience. A ton of professional work goes into those types of things, even if you don’t equate them with “work.” Now, do any of these things have to do with the job you’re applying for? No. But chances are neither does four months of smiling non-stop as you slowly sweat into a puddle while you check that the safety restraints have been properly fastened. Thank you so much. Have a magical job description.
Emphasize what you do have
Just because you don’t have your mouse ears doesn’t mean you don’t have interesting job experiences. From being a snowboard instructor to a Bible Camp counselor to a professional pie taster, interesting jobs are out there. All you need to do is apply for them! With unique experiences, your interview conversations could go more like this:
- “I see you worked at a Ben & Jerry’s for two summers. What’s your favorite flavor? I’ve always been partial to Cherry Garcia, but sometimes Chunky Monkey hits the spot. Did you get the three pints a day perk?”
- “Oh, you were a vendor at the local sports stadium? That must have been the best job ever. Are you a big fan of the local sports team? I remember the first time I ever went to that stadium—it was the best! Did you get to meet any players?!”
- “So, was being a lifeguard anything like Baywatch?”
PS: If you are a professional pie taster, how did you get that job? Asking for a friend.
Make your résumé look magical with more tips in our Internships and Careers section.