With summer quickly approaching, many college students are anxious to learn if they have been selected for an internship. It is February, meaning internship applications are closed or closing and it is time to make the final efforts to secure an internship.
Harding’s Center for Professional Excellence (CPE) assists students and alumni with their career search and assists employers with recruiting highly talented candidates. Brian Harrington, head of CPE, is available to meet with students to go over resumes, cover letter development, job search assistance, mock interviews, job offer negotiation tips and professional profile photos for Handshake and LinkedIn.
In regard to getting an internship for the summer, Harrington advised students to network.
“Networking is the number one way to find an internship. Applying online for jobs is something we all have to do, but the best way to get that interview or job offer is by networking,” Harrington said.
Handshake — Harding’s online job and internship portal— is another tool that CPE provides assistance with.
“Handshake is used by over five million students, more than 900 universities and over 500,000 employers,” Harringotn said. “It was created specifically for college students.”
To use Handshake effectively, Harrington advised students to complete their profile because employers are more likely to contact those with information readily available.
“I would also suggest adding a summary to the Handshake profile,” Harrington said. “ Think of it as a two to three sentence commercial. What qualities and traits does a student have that would be attractive to an employer?”
When applying to internships, he said it is important to understand that there are others applying for the very same position.
“Find ways to help set yourself apart from other candidates,” Harrington said. “Be active in your social club and be an officer if possible.”
Senior finance major Riley Smith had the opportunity to complete an internship with Walmart last summer and was then offered a full-time job. She met Walmart at Meet The Firms, an event hosted by the CPE. She said she accepted the internship her junior year.
“Show interest early in companies that you really like and reach out to them,” Smith said. “ Don’t be scared to talk to them because they want to find good talent as much as you want to find a good internship.”
She said professors aided in growing her connections. She said companies selected a handful of students that seemed interested and had them over for dinner at a professor’s house. They had a friendly discussion, which allowed the students and firms to see if the internship would be a good fit for the two of them.
“Through the connections of my professors, they kind of put in a good word for me, and I made the effort to reach out to that company,” Smith said.
Smith emphasized the importance of following up with a firm, by sending a thank you letter or e-mail.
“The sooner you reach out to them, the more they’re going to remember you and hold the things that you said,” Smith said.
With many students applying to the same internships, it is important to make sure that you stand out. Smith recommended personalizing the follow-up with details, thus giving more personality and memory to your name.
“You can mention in your thank you cards — little things about what you talked about with them — more specifics,” Smith said. “Then they’re going to remember more of who you are rather than, ‘Oh, this random student sent me a thank you e-mail’.”
Sometimes all it takes to find an internship is a Google search. Senior athletic training major Madison Ceurter interned at Fusion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance in New York City. As an athletic training major, Ceurter did not need an internship; however, she was curious about New York City. She used an internship to explore a new city and gain experience.
“I just e-mailed the head athletic trainer there, and I was like, ‘Hey, I would love to have an internship’,” Ceurter said. “‘You don’t have to pay me, I would just come. I just want to learn. Even if it is just for a week or two weeks’.”
Ceurter is an example of using an opportunity to full advantage.