Internship Tips Whether You Have A Freshman or Senior
By Priscilla Beth Baker
Some not-so-fun facts about job and internship searching:
- It is soul-sapping.
- It is beyond stressful.
- It is incredibly time-consuming.
- It affects your self-esteem.
But here’s the thing …..
- It’s not personal.
- It doesn’t mean you picked the wrong major.
- It doesn’t mean you will not be a highly successful person in the future.
- It’s not uncommon for students in any major to take up to 6 months post-graduation to find jobs. That is a fact!
If your kids are blindly applying to every job and internship under the sun on job search sites and getting no responses or rejections, there are multiple reasons for this:
- The job has already been filled and they didn’t take the post down.
- The company had an internal candidate in mind but still had to post the position.
- They did not meet the qualifications or other candidates who met those qualifications better.
- Their resume/cover letter was not specific/tailored enough to merit further consideration.
- It just wasn’t a good fit.
Make sure your kids are updating their resume, creating a longer version for any opportunity then deleting entries for specific opportunities to tailor it. Their resume should be error-free; errors reflect very poorly in terms of attention to detail. Both technical and non-technical skills should be included so employers get the full picture of who your child is. They should include any leadership roles they have held, clubs, and societies they have been actively involved in, rec sports, etc. Resumes should be 1-2 pages (preferably 1) maximum. Companies are basically judging applicants initially based on this one piece of paper so you want to make every word count. And don’t waste space listing references on a resume – references will be requested later if the application makes it further in the process.
If there are ANY connections to the industry through family, friends, or previous work experiences, NOW is the time to ask for help. Encourage your kids to reach out to these contacts and put themselves forward. A personal reference carries far more weight than a stack of nameless resumes fed into the system. Many companies are moving to a framework of not even posting positions but instead asking people who work for them to provide resumes of candidates worth considering for a job or internship.
Along those same lines, I have had multiple students get jobs and internships by going directly to company websites that they are interested in working for and just contacting current employees or HR directly about opportunities. Even if companies aren’t currently hiring, this will show tremendous initiative and it will be remembered later when positions come up.
If your kids do not yet have a presence on LinkedIn or other job search sites, they should. That specific platform hosts thousands of job and internship opportunities as well as having an incredibly wide reach from a networking standpoint. Students should accept all “requests” – it’s not like social media where they might only want their friends on there; they are building up a professional network. And in case you were not aware, most universities have multiple free job search platforms open to students even well after they graduate, so be sure they are availing themselves of those invaluable opportunities. HaveUHeard that LinkedIn has a version specifically designed for students looking for their first jobs? The LinkedIn Students app is free and lets you research jobs, view companies where alumni from your schoolwork, and connect with more people. You can create an account and get started right away without spending a dime.
Finally, I cannot stress this point enough: they need to follow up after every contact or application! Amusing personal side story on this note: my son was looking for a job to have while he was in college. I helped him make a nice resume and he targeted restaurants and stores he wanted to work within a half-mile radius of his apartment. When he didn’t have a job two weeks later, I kept asking, “Did you go back and talk to a manager after you dropped off your resume?” He kept evasively blowing me off then sheepishly admitted that he “didn’t want to be too pushy.” I (loudly) explained the difference between being pushy and showing initiative. He subsequently went back to his top three choices. And he got offers from all three. Within the hour. Just for showing up again. For showing INITIATIVE. Go figure. For once, he had to admit that I was right. How often does that happen?
And, should your student land that coveted internship out of state, where will they live? We’ve got you covered in our blog Out-of-State Internship? Now where will they live?
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