Does the idea of getting an internship scare you to death? Are you avoiding the process of finding an internship because you don’t know where to start? You are not alone! Many students are very anxious about going through the internship process.
However, internships can be an exciting experience as a step toward transitioning to the professional world. As a peer advisor and a student myself, I have learned a few things along the way. This semester, I am completing the required internship for my degree. Although I am a health science major, I’ve found that many of the same internship search strategies apply to all students. Based on my experience, here are some of my tips:
- First and foremost, start early! I cannot stress this enough. If you are really worried about securing an internship, start a full semester before the internship should begin. You’ll have more companies to choose from, and it will also give you more time to interview and find the best internship fit. This is especially important for students wanting to work in competitive industries, where you will probably need to go to multiple interviews. If you aren’t sure where to begin, start with the on-campus job search engine, Titan Connection.
- Utilize all of your personal connections. These connections don’t need to be people who work in your desired field. If you just start telling people you know that you’re looking for an internship, you may find that word-of-mouth could result in a referral or a tip. This is a great way to get into an internship that you would not find in an online search. In my case, I landed my internship because my sister’s mother-in-law knew someone who told me about the opportunity.
- Be sure that your good ol’ resume is polished. If you are interested in a competitive industry, you are going to want to send out many resumes. Also, having it in prepared in advance will ensure that you have it on hand when you need it. You will want to bring copies of your resume if you attend this spring’s on-campus internship fairs. The Career Center is sponsoring the “Internship and Career Expo” on Thursday, April 5, as well as the “Communications Internship Fair” on Wednesday, April 25 (during Comm Week). If you need help, visit the Career Center for resume writing assistance.
- Prior to an internship interview, make sure to do your research. You hear this over and over for job interviews; however, the same goes for an internship. Remember that companies may hire interns as full-time employees. Knowing your stuff about the company will just put you one step ahead. Don’t go around reciting their “mission statement” or anything, but be prepared to sound knowledgeable if called upon.
- Finally, be professional during the internship interview. This should go without saying, but surprisingly, some students don’t realize that wearing Vans and board shorts is usually not the best choice of interview attire (unless, maybe, you’re interviewing at Vans). Companies prize professionalism and will notice applicants who put their best foot forward. Don’t lose a great internship opportunity because of not presenting yourself in the best light!
I hope this gave you a little more confidence to get out there and snatch up an internship. For many students, it is necessary not only for graduation, but also for your success after college. We all know how challenging it is to get a job out there right now, so make the best of your college experience. Don’t be afraid of the internship! Take this requirement and run with it.