Improve Your Standing in the Internship Market
By Patrick CooleyPosted Oct 16, 2012
“Employers are using internships as evaluation periods, and hoping to hire from their internship pool.”
This comes from Scott Kustis, assistant director of the College of Arts and Sciences Career Services, who stressed the importance of internships during a recent UWeekly exclusive.
Kustis said it’s important that students can function in a professional setting and do the work the job required of them. What can you do to improve your chances of earning those crucial slots?
- Network: Sometimes the first step is shaking hands with a future employer, getting a business card and making sure they remember you.
“Develop your network, and sometimes the internships will come,” he said.
On-campus events such as career fairs are a great place to start.
“We get very frustrated with students who say career fairs are a waste of time,” Kustis said.
Businesses have representatives at fairs for a reason, he added. “They want someone to come to the table.”
- Know the hiring process in the industry you want to work in: It’s rarely as simple as sending out your resume hoping someone gets back to you, Kustis said.
For example: “Some companies do a lot of on-campus activities,” he said. If you want to work for one of those companies, it’s important to attend those events.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of volunteer and leadership experience: If you volunteered for Habitat for Humanity for the summer, or if you were the captain of your high school soccer team, don’t be afraid to put it on your resume, Kustis said.
“It can be anything,” he said, “sports, volunteerism, active in the fraternity (or sorority), any student club or organization.”
If an employer gets two identical resumes, and the first has those types of experiences and the second doesn’t, the first one is going to stand out, Kustis said.
- Join professional organizations: “A lot of jobs fly under the radar,” Kustis said.
Being part of a professional organization (such as the Public Relations Student Society of America, or the Society of Professional Journalists), can give you the inside track on job and internship postings before they are made available to the general public.
- Research the company you’re applying to intern for: This can be as simple as visiting their website and studying coverage of said company in the news. The point, Kustis said, is to let the employer know you’re serious about working for him or her.
“They want someone who has visited the corporate website,” he said.