With the semester coming to a close and winter break upon us, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about summer internships. Internships are a great way to gain experience while still in school and make connections in your field. Internships allow you to apply your degree to the specific area that you’re interested in.
This past summer, I was lucky enough to have a one of a kind internship opportunity. I can honestly say it was easily one of the best experiences I’ve had throughout my college career. Not only did I learn many skills that I know will help me in the future but I had so much fun and met some great people. My internship opened so many doors to other amazing opportunities, as well.
The internship search and application process can be intimidating. At first, I did not quite know where to start. Here are some tips that I found can help you get your dream internship, too!
Be proactive. It’s never too early to start researching different internships that you are interested in. There are so many opportunities out there. Some great places to look are Husky Career Link and LinkedIn. Internships, both paid and unpaid, are irreplaceable experiences that help you get started in your career. Obviously, we would all love paid internships, but in many cases, they are unpaid. The benefit of the experience in the long run is priceless! Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get your first choice internship the first time out, because building up experience will help you obtain more desirable positions in the future.
Stay organized. After doing your research, make a list of internships you find and be sure to write down the deadlines and the materials necessary for completion of the application.
Utilize the Center for Career Development. All those e-mails they send you? Read them. They tell you about the events that they have to offer each week that can be very helpful, as well as highlight internship or employment opportunities. The Center for Career Development is a great resource that UConn has to offer. They host career fairs, resume critiques, interview tips, and connections with many companies that can help you when applying. Make sure to update your resume’s purpose and cover letter for each specific internship application.
Apply to as many as possible. Anything you could be interested in or fits your career goals… Apply! It can’t hurt to apply because internship positions, especially the more desirable ones, are very competitive. Give yourself the best chance possible to have an awesome internship. Even if you find an internship that is your ideal position, you need to give yourself other options in case that one does not work out.
Use your resources. Any connections you have… use them! Inquire information from professors, advisors, friends in your major, or relatives that have ties to a particular position or field of your interest. They will be more than willing to help seeing that you are taking initiative for your future. In most cases, these people will have connections or advice they can give you to help you out and point you in the right direction.
Think about clubs to join in the spring. This can not only pad your resume but also help you gain valuable, hands-on experience in your future career. You will learn skills that cannot be learned in the classroom that will set you apart from others. This will help you very much when you get into an internship or job, as well, because you will have an idea of how to actually apply the skills you have learned to be successful.
Be prepared to interview. Don’t wing it! Think of questions you think they might ask ahead of time and your responses to those questions. Some common questions: about your previous experience, involvement, what you hope to do, your individual skills, things that set you apart, ways to describe yourself, negative characteristics, etc. If they ask about a negative, always try to make it a positive. If it is a phone or Skype interview, you can leave your answers right in front of you. Although, if this is the case, don’t go word for word, just have a general idea of what you want them to know about you so you can make the most of your interview.
Be Confident!!! This is the best piece of advice I can give. Confidence is key in the working world. How can you expect your employer to have confidence in you and your abilities if you don’t have confidence in yourself first?