These days the pressure to find and succeed in an internship is mounting. More and more employers contend that this is one of the best ways to “get in” with their business, or their industry and they couldn’t be more correct! Humans learn best when we put our skills into practice and what better way to do this than a summer internship or part time job in your field of interest? With all of the mention and pressure surrounding internships and jobs, it can seem impossible to know where to start, but follow these few steps and you’ll be well on your way to leveraging your summer experience towards a rewarding career.
First off, you have to know when to start looking. Timing can vary from company to company, but postings for internships and part-time summer work will start trickling in around mid-December, but will really get into full swing between February and April. Most companies have due dates for applications/resumes/cover letters no later than April 1st, so that they can hold interviews and make decisions in enough time for students to make transportation and/or living arrangements.
Next, you have to know where to look. Loyola’s job & internship board, Employola, is a great place to start. Here you will find a lengthy database of jobs and internships that the university’s Career Development Center specifically crafts to relate to our student body’s interests and skills. In addition, the CDC offers a number of national and international online resources such as CareerShift, Glassdoor, and Going Global to help you broaden your search; many of these are subscription-based, which Loyola sponsors, so make sure you go through the Career Development Center’s site to access these sites fully and free-of-charge.
Another useful tactic is to start by identifying your geographical limitations (or lack thereof) to where you would like to intern or work for the summer, and specific companies for whom you might like to intern. Some careful research and a trip to the Career Development Center can help you reach out to the companies and people who might be able to offer you that perfect opportunity. It’s a good rule of thumb to apply to 10-15 internships/jobs to maximize your opportunities.
A MUST-DO is to remember that you’ll need to have your resume as up-to-date as possible. All resumes will be slightly different but having a complete listing of your educational, leadership, work, and volunteer experiences will make your search all the easier. You also want to remember to be professionally courteous in your conversations with potential employers. Here are some quick tips:
• Follow ALL application instructions. Failure to do so sends any number of negative messages to a potential employer.
• Always use formal titles/last names when first addressing someone via email, conversation, or print. They may ask you to use their first name later, but it’s best to start out on a respectful foot.
• Always be prompt in your responses.
• Always use proper spelling and grammar. ALWAYS. Sloppy writing tells the reader that you lack precision and detail in your work and an employer doesn’t want to hire someone whose work they will be forced to clean up consistently.
• Accept that the working world contains many moving parts and your correspondence or job application may consequently take a week or two to address. You’re more than within your rights to reach out if you haven’t heard back from an employer in over 3 weeks, but remember to be patient.
So let’s say you secure that perfect internship. To be as successful as possible, you will need to go beyond simply showing up. True professionals and successful people are lean, mean, problem solving machines. They look ahead, strategize for, and address the needs of their division/company/supervisor/employer. Truly successful people always have a mind for connections as well, so be a team player and make sure you maintain healthy connections with your team and maximize your professional network so that it lasts you long after your internship or part-time experience are over. Work on identifying and maintaining close relationships with leaders and successful members of your industry because you never can tell where a conversation can lead!
All of this can admittedly seem too daunting to tackle alone, so don’t! Loyola’s Career Development Center is here to help you with all of these things and more, so that you can achieve your professional aspirations with confidence and ease, and we’re available Monday – Friday, 9am-4pm, so stop in or schedule a time to speak with one of our team members today!