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Grow up, Get an Internship

09-01_internship fair
MAKING CONNECTIONS Students are invited each year to partake in the school’s “Career and Internship Fair” to connect with future employers. Photo by Hongjin Du

Internships give undergrads a competitive edge when entering the job market, but landing one can be difficult.

To shine amongst a pool of applicants and recent graduates, showing professional initiative and experience through internships can be a defining factor in landing a job. While positions can be paid or unpaid, internships can offer real-world experience, determine a major, inspire a career choice and develop professional networks. Finding a great internship not only requires an outstanding résumé, but also an effective strategy. Follow these steps to acquire your ideal internship and get one step closer to the career of your dreams.

Think about goals— What is your general motivation for finding an internship? Is it to explore a new field, learn on-the-job skills, or fluff your résumé? Understanding your objective will narrow down your internship search in finding your ideal position.

Search for positions— With your goals in mind, you can begin looking for an internship online. Start with local businesses and organizations in your areas of interest. You can also use these resources:

Jobs for Tars: Hundreds of local (and some nationwide) internships are available through the Career Services “Jobs for Tars” program. You can access Jobs for Tars through your R-CareerLink account. Many of these internships have been pre-approved to receive academic credit. This nationwide database allows you to browse internships by career field, top cities, and company name. Use your e-mail address to register with InternMatch to save searches, receive alerts and gain access to interactive features such as “track this company.” With over 60,000 internships in over 2,000 locations, has a professional community and consists of career prep resources and internship forums.

GlobalEDGE International Internship Directory: While the Rollins Office of International Programs offers internships in London and Madrid, this directory can help you find other international opportunities.

Take advantage of your personal network— Using personal, academic and local contacts are great ways to find an internship. Ask professors, club advisors and coaches for help. Check with family and friends – they may know someone within your field of interest.

Research the company—Spending half an hour on a company’s website is not research. You must know information beyond their mission statement. What are their products? How are they doing in the stock market? What kinds of people work there? What are their backgrounds?

Apply and follow up—Submit your application as soon as possible. Make sure your résumé and cover letter are accurate and relevant. Recruiters appreciate applicants who respond quickly and efficiently. Within two weeks, send a succinct email reminding the recruiter who you are and mentioning your application.

Prepare for an interview—If you land an interview, rehearse common questions aloud and generate some questions of your own. Be sure to arrive fifteen minutes early and dress appropriately. After the interview, send a handwritten thank-you note to the recruiter. Reflect, improve and repeat. If you are hired, congratulations. If not, do not be discouraged. You should reflect upon what worked and what did not, ask your interviewer for feedback, and focus on improving this process.

For more information, visit Career Services during their walk-in hours, which are every weekday from 3:00 to 5:00PM. You can also contact the Office of Academic Internships, located in Mills Memorial Building (Room 203), at 407-646-2391.

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