Internships Job Search Tips
August 13, 2009
Each year, students obtain interesting, substantive, and career-related summer jobs and internships. The keys to their success: preparation and an early start in the summer job search process. Your search for an internship or summer job should be conducted in the same manner.
- Determine Your Priorities. Do you want career-related experience? The opportunity to travel? Funds to support tuition fees?
- Identify Prospective Employers. Organizational directories, the Yellow Pages, and local newspapers can be used to pinpoint organizations of interest, including traditional summer employers: hotels, camps, convention centers, government agencies, etc. The Career Center also maintains both electronic and paper listings for internships and summer jobs.
- Develop a Resume to Emphasize Your Skills. A resume can effectively present your background and distinguish you from other job seekers.
- Start Contacting Employers Early. If you seek a career-related position, it is appropriate to contact the manager of an organization in your area of interest, as well as the Human Resources department, as early as three or four months in advance. Call or write to request information regarding internship and summer job opportunities.
- Complete Application and Be Prepared for Interviews. If you are seeking a general, non-career-related position, you may be asked to complete and return a formal application. Be sure to complete these forms neatly and thoroughly, typing them when possible. If there are currently no positions available, request referrals to other employers in the field. Should you be granted an interview, be prepared to answer questions about your background.
- Follow-up All Interviews. Always send a thank-you letter to the interviewer expressing your appreciation. If you were not granted an interview, follow up your application with a phone call, a letter, or even a visit. Your interest and enthusiasm will distinguish you from other job seekers.
Finding an Internship or Summer Job That’s Right For You
In a competitive job market, a career-related summer job or internship can make the difference in obtaining a full-time position. More employers are using work experiences as screening devices to assess the skills and abilities of prospective employees. Skills learned on the job supplement the skills learned in the classroom. A career-related summer job or internship is likely to give you a competitive edge when you seek your first job.
Summer jobs and internships provide you with opportunities to:
- Gain valuable work experience before graduating.
- Develop skills.
- Evaluate personal likes and dislikes that will enable you to make sound career decisions.
- Develop professional contacts.
- Gain confidence in your abilities.
- Build a stronger resume, which will help you later in obtaining full-time employment.
Clarify the following before accepting an offer:
- What is the name of the individual to whom you will be responsible while you are involved in the experience?
- What are the working hours and how flexible will your schedule be with regard to your specific responsibilities?
- Will you be paid and/or receive academic credit? Keep in mind that some students choose volunteer experiences.
- What kinds of day-to-day assignments can you expect to receive from your supervisor and others?
- Are there any special requirements in connection with the work, such as medical examinations, overtime work, or personal expenses?
- Where will you be working throughout your experience?
- Will travel be necessary as part of your responsibilities?