Get That Internship! Wrap Up

Over the course of this spring semester, I covered steps in the internship search process. As a wrap-up to the series, here is the complete listing of “Get That Internship!” posts. Enjoy!

How to Find an Internship

How to Target Your Resume for Internship Applications

Internship Applications: What Do You Need?

How to Prepare for Internship Interviews

Ace Your Internship Interviews

Appropriate Interview Follow-Up

What to Do When You Receive an Internship Offer

Start Preparing for Your Summer Internship

Top Three Tips for Internship Success

I hope you found this internship advice useful, and I hope it helped you in completing a successful internship search. Best of luck in the next part of your internship journey!

Winter Break: Gear Up Time for Your Summer Internship Search

I can barely believe that winter break is already upon us. The fall semester flew by, and I’m guessing this spring semester will do the same. This means that summer – and its abundant internships – will be here before we know it.

Winter scenery

For my last post of the fall semester, I want to leave you with some things to do over the winter break to be prepared for your summer internship search. Opportunities will begin popping up in late January/early February, so you will want to be ready to take advantage of them. Here we go…

1. Get that resume ready!

It probably goes without saying, but you will need a resume in order to apply for most internships. And if great internships start getting posted and you don’t have that resume ready, you are going to be behind many of your peers. The break is an ideal time to work on your resume. No assignments, no papers, and no studying leave plenty of time to focus. I have written about internship resumes before, so check out these posts:

2. Google yourself and act accordingly.

Have you Googled yourself lately… or ever? If you are going to apply for internships, it’s a good idea. With the high potential for employers to scope you out online, you will want to be ahead of the game and know what’s out there. And if you’re strategic, you can start to mold your online presence and make it a positive one. Check out this thorough SlideShare presentation to help you get started:

3. Start building a profile on LinkedIn.

I refer to LinkedIn as your resume meets Facebook. It’s your professional social network, and it’s never been easier for students to build profiles on the site. LinkedIn takes your resume to a new level and will help you develop your professional network. Where do you begin? Check out the LinkedIn resources on our Career Resources website and read over the following articles:

Other social media sites can be beneficial as well. For tips, read Six Sites Every Potential Intern Must Be On.

Wishing you a relaxing, yet productive, winter break! “See” you in late January!

What is one thing that you will definitely accomplish over the winter break?

Photo by Bernt Rostad

Give and You Shall Receive

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: Internships are important. According to YouTern, “9 out of 10 direct-from-college hires to go those with internship experience on their resumes.” Employers that I talk with tell me that they look for candidates with related experience, the kind typically gained through internships.

You know that an internship benefits you. But have you ever thought about how an internship benefits an employer? Start thinking about it if you want that internship or if you want to be a successful intern.

Thank you Card

When Applying for an Internship…

  • Your resume is about you, but not really about you. Yes, your resume and cover letter provide details on your skills and experiences that qualify you for the internship. But when it comes to crafting your resume, it should speak to an employer’s needs. For example, let’s say you are applying for a PR Internship and you’ve already had some PR experience (like a previous internship). Instead of lumping that PR experience into a general “Experience” section with all of your other jobs, break it out into a “PR Experience” section. Help the reader clearly see that you have the experience they’re looking for.
  • Be careful with those Objective Statements. More often than not, I read Objectives on students’ resumes that are all about themselves: “To obtain an internship that allows me to gain experience, use my communication skills…blah, blah, blah.” If you are going to use an Objective Statement on your resume, keep it simple: “To obtain the ______ Internship with ________ (name of organization).” Don’t go into a long diatribe about what the internship will do for you.
  • The same goes for that cover letter. Just as with your resume, your cover letter is about you. However, the letter is about you in the context of what you bring to the table. How will your background benefit the employer? Have you worked in a similar environment? Have you done similar work successfully in the past?
  • Don’t forget to send a thank you note. This one should be self-explanatory. If you have an interview, make sure to follow up with a thank you note. Thank the interviewer for his/her time. Incorporate elements from your conversation, something that highlights what you will bring to the position. Showcase your appreciation for the opportunity and a genuine interest in their organization and the position.

During Your Internship…

  • There is never nothing to do. So, you finished all of your assigned work for the day. Do you sit back and relax until it’s time to leave? No, you don’t. Ask your co-workers if they need any help. Look around you for a new project to tackle. Work ahead on existing projects. Bottom line: Do something.
  • Be grateful for the opportunity. Not everyone does an internship before they graduate. For some, this might be by choice. For others, opportunities don’t pan out. Either way, you are fortunate for having the opportunity to work in a professional setting doing the work you want to do when you graduate. So, say thank you. Do small things like providing a co-worker a recommendation on LinkedIn. Share your great experience with others, such as through our Intern of the Month feature.

Yes, an internship will provide you with experience that boosts your resume and makes you a marketable candidate. But as an intern, you are there to do something for that employer, too. The right frame of mind, hard work, and gratefulness will pay off in your favor big time!

Photo by Jon Ashcroft

Beware the Scary Internship

They’re out there – Bad internship programs. Like any good candidate doing your research on a potential opportunity, you pop onto Google to search for information when you see the red flags. Among the company’s website and other news, you stumble upon something you weren’t expecting: scathing reviews and stories of internships gone terribly wrong.

Scary pumpkin

What do you do if your find some scary information about an internship you’re applying or interviewing for? Here are some thoughts:

  • Be a Savvy Review Reader: When you are venting about something that has upset you, do you keep your frustration completely in check? Probably not. The same is likely true of the review writers. If you see a review that is particularly nasty, keep in mind that some of that is pure emotion. It doesn’t mean that the content isn’t true, but it does mean it might be more extreme than reality.
  • Take Note of Themes: Are you seeing the same issue coming up in a lot of the negative reviews of an internship? If one person has a particularly notable experience, it might be a fluke. If lots of people are experiencing the same thing, then there’s likely some truth in that common thread.
  • Talk with a Career Advisor: There are a couple of reasons to discuss a questionable internship opportunity with a career advisor. First, your career advisor might know about the program in question. They may know students who have participated and what their experiences were like. They may know a recruiter with the organization. They may have also heard things from fellow college career advisors. I am a member of a popular email listserv with internship professionals across the country. Discussions about internship programs – if others have heard of them or what others know about them – are very common. The second reason to talk with a career advisor is that he/she can help you process all of the information you are finding. Global advice is helpful, but personalized guidance is better.
  • Talk with Fellow Students: Online reviews can tell part of the story, but it’s nothing compared to discussing the opportunity with someone from your school who has done the internship. So how do you find a fellow student to talk with? Back to the previous point, a career advisor might be able to connect you with a former intern. Otherwise, ask around. If the internship is directly related to your major, you might ask professors in the department (particularly the departmental internship coordinator). Ask students in your classes. Even if none of them did the internship themselves, they may know people who have. This is another great example of the power of networking.

Finally, trust your gut. If all signs are pointing to trouble, don’t ignore them. Internships are important, but you don’t want to get yourself into a situation that might do more harm than good. And while there are valuable lessons to be learned from a bad internship, it’s also valuable to be able to identify a bad opportunity and make the informed decision not to pursue it.

Photo by solyanka

Get in the Game with an Internship in Sports

Fall is prime time for sports: football season begins, the World Series wraps up another baseball season, and basketball rolls around again. For sports fans, this is an exciting time.

Football in Grass

There are some great career opportunities in the sports industry, but breaking into the field can be a challenge. Openings are limited and are highly competitive. Related experience – and years of it – is crucial, making internships a competitive necessity.

How do you find an internship in the sports industry. Here are some starting points:

Understand the wide range of opportunities in the industry. The sports industry is very interdisciplinary, and there is something for everyone. But as a starting point for any internship search, you want to identify which area you’d like to get experience in. Some industry segments include:

  • Sports Media: Marketing, Broadcasting, Sports Writing, Public Relations
  • Sports Team Administration: Coach, Instructor, Referee, Athletic Director
  • Sports-Related Engineering: Stadium & Sports Facilities Operations, Sporting Goods & Equipment, Product Development & Design (games, computer-assisted training devices)
  • Sports Medicine: Sport Rehabilitation & Orthopedics, Athletic Training, Sports Nutrition, Sports Psychologist
  • Sports – Other: Sports Management & Finance, Sports Law, Sports Statistics, Retail & Wholesale Operations

Familiarize yourself with job boards and other opportunities.

  • Teamwork Online: Job boards for Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey, Soccer, Golf/Tennis, Motorsports, College and National Governing Bodies, Arenas/Facilities, as well as “Multiple Entities” like media outlets and sports/entertainment firms.
  • Association for Women in Sports Media: The AWSM has their own Internship/Scholarship Program through which selected students receive up to a $1000 scholarship and are placed in a paid internship. Placements have included ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and Nike.
  • Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association: Search for jobs with retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dunhams Sports as well as concessionaires like Delaware North Companies (who serves Miller Park).

Identify organizations you would love to work for. Another key strategy in any internship search – Go right to the source. Here are a few that might interest you:

Find the right contact. Networking and research are always important, and part of the process is figuring out who is the best person to send your resume to. If you are trying to get into a particular department (ex. marketing), reach out to the head of that department.

Stand out from the competition. Many cover letters and resumes look and sound the same. Highlight the value you will bring to the organization. Provide evidence through specific examples. Work with a career counselor/advisor to develop a strong resume and to better understand the purpose of your cover letter.

Be persistent. Again, the sports industry is a competitive one. Especially if you are seeking an internship with a sports team, it can take a couple of tries before you score the internship you want.

An internship in the sports industry can happen, and it can be amazing.

Are you considering a career in the sports industry? What have you been doing to find an internship in the field?

Photo by Jayel Aheram