As a college student, finding internships is an essential step in gaining experience and determining your career path. In the midst of a pandemic, this process has become even more difficult and competitive. There are several strategies that can be used to simplify the search process and help students land their dream internship.
Utilize your university’s career center.
Many universities have copious amounts of resources to help further students’ academic and professional goals. Career centers offer many opportunities for professional development such as resume reviews, mock interviews and other services. It is important to take advantage of these resources and apply them within your own internship or job search.
Here is a link to Clemson’s Center for Career and Professional Development’s website: https://career.sites.clemson.edu.
Make connections with faculty and staff.
Professors, advisors and other university mentors are all there to help you become the best student and future employee possible. Ask questions and listen to advice. Pursuing these relationships allows you to establish connections well into your future.
There are often internship opportunities within the university system itself. Many professors are constantly looking for students to fill teaching assistant roles. Be proactive and seek out these potential opportunities.
Networking is the most important thing students can do when searching for internships. There are many different online platforms that have simplified networking and made it easier for both students and employers. LinkedIn is the most popular networking platform, allowing users to create profiles and connect with people within similar career fields. Other social media platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter, are also great for making connections and seeking out opportunities.
It is important for students to reach out to potential employers rather than waiting for employers to contact them. Being proactive about these connections shows dedication and genuine interest. This also separates students from others who have applied for the same position. Send custom direct messages to employees within career fields that interest you. Drafting professional, yet friendly, messages allows students to engage with recruiters and potential connections.
Attend career fairs.
Universities often host biannual career fairs, having one during the fall semester and one during the spring. Companies are invited to be introduced to the potential talent within the university. Students are given the chance to introduce themselves face-to-face to employers during the application process, which helps students meet real people and become more than a name on a resume.
When attending a career fair, bring extra copies of your resume as well as prior knowledge about the organizations in attendance. Doing research on companies before meeting their employees will help you to narrow down your search. It is also important to wear professional clothing and present yourself in an enthusiastic manner. This shows that you are ready to learn about the potential opportunities that they have to offer students.
Start as soon as possible.
Deadlines often sneak up on busy college students. Write down important deadlines or keep them in your calendar. With the emergence of COVID-19, internships are often posted later in the semester than usual. It is important to practice time management and ensure that internship applications are submitted in a timely manner.
Companies post internship opportunities at different times. Pay attention to when they post applications and keep your resume on hand!
Balancing schoolwork, extracurriculars and social life already presents enough challenges for college students. Searching for an internship only adds to the stress. Remaining organized and following this advice will allow the process to be smooth and successful.
Written by: Chandler Brown