I know exactly what you are thinking. I still have my whole summer ahead of me as well as an entire year of school before I would be able to get an internship. Well, your freshman year of college, no matter where you are, is going to go by in a flash. Then, you will be scavenging at the last second trying to snatch up any internship opportunity that may come your way, if any. In order to avoid all of the stress that an overwhelming first year of college is bringing, make sure to start looking for an internship right from the start. Absolutely do not even think of procrastinating.
Internships are a great way to get first hand experience with a job that you may or may not ultimately be interested in pursuing in the future. And in some cases, if you are with an internship long enough, you might be lucky enough to even land a full time job at said organization!
1. Start looking for an internship as soon as you get to college.
If you wait too long, all the majority of internships will be snatched up! According to Philip D. Gardner, a director of the College Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University, it is vital to start the process early due to the fact that most recruiters come to universities as early as the fall and the winter. With that being said, you should know your interests and consequently you will have more internships at your disposal.
2. Join various clubs & organizations.
What is a better way to get involved and get your name out there than becoming a member of organizations that are of interest to you? No matter what university you are attending, there are a vast amount of clubs and organizations. On internship applications, it is important that you are well rounded to prove that you are a motivated individual who is able to juggle various commitments all at once, which is quite impressive. Joining clubs will definitely build up your resume, which internship recruiters review intently.
3. Build strong bonds with your professors.
It may seem as though it is difficult to create a connection right off the bat with your professors, but that is where you come in. This is not exactly like high school where your teacher will tell you about every opportunity that arises. You have to learn to advocate for yourself by either introducing yourself after class, going into your professors office hours, or just attending your professors review sessions. Getting to know your professors personally will lead you to a larger network of people which could expand your internship opportunities. If your passion for learning is evident while you are with your professor, he or she will definitely be more willing to help you with things that you are passionate about, including getting an internship at a place that will help you pursue your passions, according to Frances Bridges, an advice columnist for Forbes.
4. Seek out your connections.
If you know someone who has either had an internship at a place you are interested in or knows someone that has, use them as a resource! They will have endless amounts of information accessible to you and answer questions as to how you can most likely get the internship of your dreams.
5. Follow up after all interviews.
Randall S. Hansen, PhD, who is the CEO and publisher of Empowering Sites website, cannot stress enough how important it is to either send a thank you note or an e-mail after an interview to express your appreciation for the interviewer's time. Your interest and enthusiasm will definitely go a long way in distinguishing you from other job seekers.
6. Converse with upperclassmen and listen to their advice.
Use upperclassmen as resources. They were in your shoes not too long ago and will be willing to share their success stories and advice with you when it comes to landing an internship.
At some point or another, colleges will have recruiters that come to your university throughout the years. There is no better way to get information about specific internships rather than speaking to recruiters.
8. Take advantage of your college’s career center.
Career centers have three main goals: to help you create a flawless resume, prepare you for interviews, and narrow down your major options, which are all important in order to be placed in an internship.
9. Be confident.
When you are being interviewed for an internship, being confident is key. The recruiters are looking for someone who is able to get the job done while at the same time be outgoing enough to make an impact on the place you are interning at. As Sophia Amoruso, the owner and founder of Nasty Gal clothing brand, once said, “Half of getting up there is having the confidence to show up and keep showing up."
10. Contact professionals.
When you attend a recruiting fair, it is imperative that you contact them with any questions or concerns you may have concerning the internship. Don’t just keep their business card. Make use of it! Most likely the person you are contacting will keep track of your communications and that will be advantageous in the long run because you will be remembered and appear really interested in the position.
11. Don’t sell yourself short.
At times, you may think that you shouldn’t become involved in this or that solely because you are a freshman. That is completely false! The majority of opportunities that may come your way are not only meant for upperclassmen, so take advantage. If you tell yourself you cannot do a certain club or organization because you think there are older upperclassmen that are more qualified than you, think again. Jocelyn Goldfein, a Director of Engineering at Facebook, believes that it is important to share what you would like to change about said company so you are showing initiative to make a positive impact to the company. “The most successful answers to the question, 'Why Facebook?' are things you’d really like to change about Facebook – whether it’s a feature you wish existed, or a bug you’d like to fix, or just a design you think we got wrong,” said Goldfein.
12. Be creative online.
The recruiters can see your online activities on your social media platforms, so be careful as to what you post. But blogging wise, make sure you hold nothing back when it comes to sharing your interests. Your true interests will shine through and recruiters will definitely see your passion for a certain field of study, which in turn helps you land an internship even at the bottom of the totem pole as a freshman.
13. Have a strong resume.
According to a writer on Investopedia, Glenn Curtis stated to, “double and triple check your resume,” as well as to, “search your resume for any inaccuracies or situations where you may have stretched the truth.” In the long run, your resume does have the ability to come back and haunt you due to not being completely truthful, and the time it will is once you are actually on the job at your internship.
I wish you the best of luck! An internship that is the perfect fit for you is waiting. Don’t wait around! Take advantage of such opportunities while they are accessible to you.