Three Steps to Kick Off Your Summer Internship Search

Start

This week kicks off the start of spring classes. Many of you have returned to campus refreshed from winter break. You know that the weeks ahead will bring new challenges in the classroom. But for many, thoughts will start turning to summer. Hopefully, those thoughts include an internship.

If you are like the many students planning on a summer internship, it is important to start NOW! Here are three things you can do right away to get yourself on the right track.

  1. Get going on your resume. If you have put off writing your resume, your time is up. Most, if not all, internship applications will require you to submit a resume. Start writing a draft, get some feedback from career staff in Career & Leadership Development, and continue to polish it until it’s employer ready. If you already have a resume written, be sure to get some feedback if you never have before. Also, add any accomplishments from the fall semester – an internship, a new leadership role, academic honors, etc.
  2. Figure out what you want. Your internship search is going to be very difficult – not to mention frustrating – if you have no idea what you are even looking for. No matter what your major is, you need to make some career decisions before embarking on your search. What do you want to do? Keep in mind that you’re not making a forever decision – An internship can help you decide if you’re on the right path or not. But you need to start somewhere. Get some ideas by researching work related to your major. Speak with your career liaison for more individualized assistance.
  3. Familiarize yourself with your resources. While online internship/job boards are not the end-all, be-all for finding an internship, they are a popular tool and a good place to begin. Learn how to use each site effectively (again, another excellent reason to meet with career staff in Career & Leadership Development). You might find exactly what you’re looking for, or you might get ideas for creating your own internship. Here are some resources to get you started:
  • Hawk Jobs – For UW-Whitewater students only! Particularly helpful for students looking in business and communications. However, you may find opportunities in human services, education, and even the arts from time to time.
  • Big Shoes Network – A must-use resources for aspiring communications professionals. Opportunities in PR, marketing, social media, graphic design, etc.
  • Making the Difference – Primary resource for internships with the federal government.
  • Idealist – Start your non-profit career. Find volunteer and internship opportunities.
  • Volunteer Clearinghouse – Human services “internships” can be hard to come by for undergrads. Your best bet is exploring long-term volunteer opportunities, some of which can be found here.
  • Science.gov – Internship and fellowship opportunities for undergrads in the sciences.
  • TeamWork Online – Want to intern with a major or minor league sports organization? This is where you need to be looking!

What questions do you have about the internship search? I would love to hear from you!

Photo by jakeandlindsay

From the Archives: To Do Before Winter Break

Post originally published on November 18, 2008. It was the fourth post for the new UW-Whitewater Internships Blog.

The fall semester is quickly coming to an end. Thanksgiving is only a week away, and it’s just a downhill slide from there to exams. With the end of the fall semester comes the beginning of the spring semester and that means many students’ summer internship searches will kick into high gear.

Want to be prepared for your upcoming summer internship search? Give your resume a tune-up. A resume is a necessary evil in the internship search process, and it can hurt you if it’s poorly composed or contains typos. By getting your resume ready now, you have time to have a Career Counselor review it, use the feedback to make revisions, have it looked at again, revise it again, etc. All of that work should result in a top-notch, polished resume that’s ready to go come next semester.

Welcome to the Fall 2011 Semester!

Back to school

Welcome Back Warhawks! I trust that the first week of classes went smoothly, and I hope you’re ready to get back into the school groove. Hopefully part of your 2011-2012 plans include an internship (or two).

Here’s a little look at what you might have missed over the summer and what you should definitely take advantage of this fall:

  • Confessions of a Summer Intern – For the second summer in a row, I recruited a group of four UWW interns to share their summer internship experiences with the masses. Alysondra, Gabby, Erin, and Sarah were all over the internships “map.” We learned what it’s like to be a virtual intern, we experienced what our nation’s capital has to offer interns, we headed oversees to London, and we got an insider’s view into a local powerhouse. If you missed any of the series this summer, definitely check it out!
  • Resume Dr. – Did you know that September is International Update-Your-Resume Month? I didn’t either until I saw it on Twitter last Tuesday. Get in the spirit by checking in at one of our first Resume Dr. events for the year:
    • Tuesday, September 20 – 9:00am to Noon – Hyland Hall Atrium
    • Wednesday, September 21 – 10:00am to 1:00pm – University Center Concourse
    • Thursday, September 22 – 1:00pm to 4:00pm – Andersen Library
  • Hawk Career Fair – Don’t miss out on the biggest UWW career fair of the year! Approximately 100 employers attend this annual event to recruit, and many come looking for more than just full-time employees. Internships make up a large segment of the available opportunities. Find the list of fair attendees and opportunities being recruited for on Hawk Jobs: www.uww.edu/career/hawkjobs.php.
  • Intern Spotlight – Did you have an awesome internship experience this summer? Or are you anticipating that your fall internship is going to rock? Then you definitely need to consider applying to be UWW Intern of the Month and be featured in our “Intern Spotlight”! If you’re not there yet, the Intern Spotlight is still very beneficial. Read UWW interns’ stories and learn from their experiences.

Be sure to hit the ground running when it comes to your internship search. I’ve already met with students planning for Summer 2012! It’s awesome!! Haven’t even come close to thinking that far ahead yet? Get going! The competition is already ahead of you…

If you want some one-on-one advising on your internship search, be sure to schedule an appointment with me, your trusty Internship Coordinator. Just contact Career & Leadership Development at 262-472-1471 or drop by the office (UC 146 – up the ramps/stairs across from Willie’s 360/Freshens-side).

Beyond the in-person meetings, connect with me on Twitter. I tweet about current internship openings, and I share articles and tips to help in your search. I can also answer basic questions there – just send me a “reply” or “direct message” and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Wishing you all the best for the 2011-2012 academic year and in your quest for an amazing internship!

Photo by Avolore

Last-Minute Internship Search

The Point of No Return

On Monday, I hosted my “Last-Minute Internship Search” workshop. I covered a variety of strategies that students can employ at this point in the semester in order to hopefully secure an internship for this summer…which is only about a month, month-and-a-half away.

I know that there are still plenty of people in this last-minute boat. So for the next few weeks, I am going to cover a strategy you can use at this point in the internship search game. This week’s focus: Internship Postings.

Essentially, internship postings are electronic want ads. Many of you are likely using this resource: searching online internship/job boards is easy. But the ease and volume of users is one of this strategy’s downfalls. Internships that are posted have higher exposure, leading to more applicants and more competition.

While perusing internship postings seems like a no-brainer strategy, here’s how to do it effectively:

  • Identify positions of interest. Most internship posting sites allow you to search in a number of ways. You can use keywords to narrow down options or possibly sort by industry or job category. On the other hand, you might be able to pull up EVERY internship listed. This can be helpful if you’re not sure what you’re looking for – you can gain some insight into what types of internships appeal to you and work from there.
    • UW-Whitewater Internships Website, “Find an Internship” section: Access Hawk Jobs, General Search Resources, and Field-Specific Programs/Resources.
    • Hawk Jobs: Within Hawk Jobs, UW-W students can access some “hidden” treasures. Navigate to the Career Resources section along the top menu. EmployOn and Internships.com are both excellent.
  • Research the organization. The importance of employer research can’t be stressed enough. The information you gather about an organization should be used as you craft your application materials and during the interview process. Here are some questions to explore:
    • What does the organization do?
    • What is the size of the organization?
    • How is the organization structured?
    • What is the organization’s reputation?
    • What are the credentials of their top leaders?
  • Understand the application process. Worst-case scenario: You find an internship you would LOVE, and then completely miss the application deadline. Know how to apply and mark applicable deadlines.
  • Adapt your application materials. Targeting your resume is key at any point in time, but I might argue it’s even more important now. You want to stand apart from the competition in the best way possible. Make it easy for an employer to “see” how you are qualified. Develop a cover letter specifically for the given internship and for the particular organization. Your cover letter provides you with an opportunity to go more in depth about what you bring to the table, especially important if this would be your first internship. Work with a career counselor on both of these important documents.
  • Submit your materials. Enough said.
  • Follow up. Follow-up is a key step in the process, but it’s also a delicate one. Follow up too soon, too often, or too inappropriately and you can erase any chance of getting an interview. First, only follow up on your application IF it’s ok. Some organizations will specifically state, “No Calls.” If you see this, don’t follow up. If follow-up is an option, as is most often the case, then do so just before the deadline or 2 weeks after your application submission. You can check that they received your materials, ask what the next step in the process is, inquire what the anticipated timeline is for the process, and express your continued interest in the position. Short, sweet, to the point.

Be sure to start NOW and work at your search consistently. Not much time remains. Next Monday, I’ll cover Employer Sourcing. Stayed tuned!

Photo by Pat Hawks

Question of the Week:

What is your favorite site for finding posted internships?