The Ultimate Guide to Internship Shopping, Your Winter "Break"

The academic world is always changing. A degree from college alone isn’t always enough for your dream job, or at least a job that will pay the bills. Nine times out of ten hiring committees will admit to wanting someone “special,” who has some quality that “sets them apart” from the rest. The best way to achieve these qualities is through experience. There are many options out there for experience, but let’s talk internships.

First, think about what interests you. Whether related to your major or not, keep an open mind. You might find yourself curious about descriptions for jobs you’d never considered before. Part of what makes internships so great: they aren’t binding for life—they can further a previous skill or give you a taste of something new. Make a list of your interests and skills and work from there.

Once you feel like you have a solid list of interests and you understand your abilities, make sure you have a well-thought-out resume with appropriate information. You may find yourself making several resumes that each focus on certain skills for certain jobs, that’s okay! If you need any help formulating a resume that best represents you, don’t hesitate to visit the Career Services website or go to walk-in advising hours in Goodell. Resumes are often the first thing hiring committees look at, so you want to make sure that yours best exemplifies your abilities.

Now it’s time to start searching! There are a handful of websites you can use to search for internships (Indeed.com, internships.com, etc.), but I suggest using the UMass resource CareerConnect and keeping up with emails from your major advisors and department heads (there are great opportunities in there—don’t immediately hit delete!) Once you’ve found an internship that strikes an interest, save it! Bookmark it! Don’t lose track of it. Read through ALL of the requirements before applying; you don’t want to spend hours on the application just to realize you need your Master’s…

This part’s really up to you, but consider location. Some people like to apply all over the place and see “where the chips fall,” but you might want to localize your applications to a certain city…or side of the country. Talk to your family, your friends, your advisor—anyone who might shed some light on working in a given area and of course, how much it costs (money is a huge part of this, don’t forget that).

After you’ve applied to at least one internship, continue to keep your eyes and ears open, both to the companies you’ve already applied to and others that might suit your interests. Continue to check into your applications, and keep an eye on your inbox for any updates. Most hiring committees will ask for an interview if you make it through the first rounds of applications and strike an interest. Here’s a quick link on how to prepare for a phone interview.

If you make it through the next round, you’ve most likely scored an internship. Congrats! Internships are great opportunities for you to immerse yourself within a field, experience the real world, make a difference, and even walk away with either credits or cash. But most of all, internships and the process of getting internships ask for you to really take a look at yourself and what you’ve achieved so far at UMass. Don’t shy away from your talents. There’s a good chance someone out there is looking for them.

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