With summer break fast approaching, it can be easy to get wrapped up in all the end-of-the-semester activities. Though college is about having fun, it’s also the stepping-stone to your future. So in the midst of Rodeo, A-Day, and the bounty of fraternity concerts to choose from, take steps to solidify your post-Auburn happiness, starting with the internship.
Internship can be a seriously daunting word, its three syllables packed with meaning for the present and future. In today’s still lackluster job market, having an internship before a diploma is more important than ever. The process of finding the perfect match for you can be more than a little scary, which makes it easy to put off. But I’ve recently bit the bullet and taken the leap into pre-adulthood, and here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way.
1. Use the Career Center
I’m sure you’ve been hearing about the Auburn University Career Center since the minute you stepped foot on campus as an official student. If you’re anything like me, you tend to zone out whenever you hear the word “career” and subsequently missed an incredible amount of important information. I had a panic moment when I realized graduation is not far off for me, and immediately scheduled an appointment with a Career Center advisor. We looked over my résumé, discussed potential career paths, and surfed around Tiger Recruiting Link (TRL). Through TRL, I was able to find several internships that matched my skills and interests. They also offer mock interviews and other helpful tips for success.
2. The More, The Better!
The saying “less is more” definitely does not apply when it comes to internships. You can’t get your heart set on one opportunity and cross your fingers that it pans out! You need to spread yourself across many channels to get the most out of the career world. Plus, you never know—just because you don’t land the job doesn’t mean an employer won’t take interest in you. Securing an interview can be a huge step in your future, even if it doesn’t end in a job while you’re still an undergrad.
3. Have An Open Mind
There is always that one job description that grabs hold of you and squeezes you more tightly than your smallest pair of skinny jeans. But it’s important to remember that countless others are obsessed with the same opportunity and you are in competition with them for the position. If you’re too into that one internship, there’s a chance that your other interviews will be lackluster. You need to give off the best impression possible, whether you’re infatuated with an opportunity or just so-so about it. Don’t start the apartment search in the location of the job until you know for sure. Anything can happen, and you don’t want to be let down if it doesn’t work out.
4. Keep Expectations to a Minimum
Nothing ruins any moment quite like high expectations. During the internship search, just go ahead and accept the fact that the majority of the positions are unpaid. It’s “such a rewarding experience to work for [insert company name here]” that getting a paycheck is unnecessary. While that may be true in some cases, not each internship you love is feasible. If you’re a little strapped for cash applying for an internship in New York City that is unpaid and doesn’t offer a living stipend is probably not the wisest choice. Don’t expect the job to change your life. Though any position will give you experience and stories, there is a chance that this job won’t be “the one” following graduation. Expect less and be elated when you receive more!