Successful seekers, says Schawbel, don't necessarily have to have started a business. They just need to present their experience in a way that shows they have initiative and creative ability--that they are "independent minded."
"Maybe you started your own blog. Maybe you've freelanced or you created your own internship." Any of those, he says, would cary weight with an employer. A lot of students, he says, aren't told by college counselors how highly employers value entrepreneurship. Given a choice of a candidate with five internships or somebody who's started his own company, says Schawbel, "an employer will go for the entrepreneur every time."
Diehl of Bowdoin says some students use internships as a way to show entrepreneurial spirit: Sometimes, he says, a student will want an internship with an employer who doesn't offer any. In that case, he says, "We work with students to find a creative solution. We urge them to approach the organization with a proposal for an internship, then to go out and find a grant with which to fund it."