Published: April 27, 2022

woman studyingThere are many ways to gain professional experience outside of a traditional internship or job. These experiences can add depth to your resume and LinkedIn profile, and give you great stories to share during interviews to demonstrate your strengths and skills. Here are some opportunities that can help you gain professional experience.

Micro internships and projects

If you’re looking for flexible experiences that will help you grow your resume, strengthen skills, feel accomplished and build connections, check out Buff Works and UPSKLS. These programs offer short-term projects with companies across North America, and many are in Colorado. In Buff Works, you’ll work on teams to tackle broad challenges for companies. Through UPSKLS, you’ll work individually. There are a variety of projects and both programs are designed to pair you with projects that match your skills and interests. Both programs are also available to students of all levels.

Job simulations

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to work in a specific job role or at a specific company, job simulations offer that opportunity. 

The Forage is a platform that offers 2-7 hour virtual roles where you can explore what it’s like to work at some of the most desired workplaces in the world. You can practice doing the actual work of a company and submit your results to their staff to review. If they like what they see, you may just hear back from them about an internship or job opportunity. 

Linkedin Learning

One of the best ways to sharpen your application for a job or internship is to add a strong skills section to your resume. Listing practical skills that set you apart can put you at the front of the line for hiring consideration.

LinkedIn Learning can help you develop all kinds of transferable skills that are sure to impress employers. Courses range in length, and you can choose from options that will teach you

  • How to use Microsoft Excel, Adobe and other programs

  • Job-specific skills like coding, social media for business or building a website

  • Transferable skills like public speaking, project management, leadership and more

Linkedin Learning is available to all CU students at no additional cost.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship programs

CU Boulder has a rich culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and there are some amazing programs on campus that support students in pursuing their dreams. If you’re interested in starting your own business or exploring an innovative idea, check out the following opportunities:

Learn more about innovation and entrepreneurship resources.


One of the best ways to learn about yourself, develop skills and give back to others is through volunteering. Volunteer roles can vary—opportunities include everything from working with animals to writing grants to collecting data for organizations. 

There are plenty of opportunities to match your interests and fit your schedule. Search the CUServes database for available service opportunities.

Forever Buffs Network

Connect with CU Boulder alumni and other students on the Forever Buffs Network. You can create an account and network or set up informational interviews with alumni to learn more about jobs or industries you’re interested in. You can even find mentors and long term connections with people who share your interests.

Research opportunities

When it comes to research, CU Boulder is one of the world’s leading institutions. Research is useful in the classroom and on campus, but it can also be incredibly helpful in your future endeavors. If you’re interested in research, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) provides hands-on experience in a research or creative project. There are also opportunities to connect with faculty mentors.