Archive for the ‘getting an internship’ category

Don’t let your online identity spoil your chances of getting an internship

October 15, 2010

The New York Times (Sunday, Oct. 10) had a very timely article, warning job seekers to protect their online identities. To paraphrase this informative piece, you may have a great resume, outstanding references, and a successful interview, and still not get the offer, whether it’s for a job or an internship.  Why?  Well, remember that companies often view internships as tests for potential new employees, so establishing yourself as a reputable person who will add value to the company is important.  To supplement Dr. Woody’s recent post about online identities, here are our top 5 tips advised in the NYT article to help you protect yourself as you apply for internships:

  1. Assume that you may be looked up on a search engine, so review the results of a quick search of your own name. If you find anything negative, do some damage control by entering a few positive items about yourself in hopes that the new entries will appear above the negative ones.
  2. Review your Facebook page. A potential internship supervisor could become a friend of one of your friends and gain access to your page. According to the article, you don’t want anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see. Be careful about photos, too.  Drinking beer at a bachelor party may have been fun, but it could give some companies the wrong impression.
  3. Understand that having absolutely no mention of yourself on online tends to be viewed with suspicion. If that’s the case, then create a professional identity on the Internet for yourself, utilizing Google profiles, LinkedIn and ZoomInfo to establish a positive presence for yourself.
  4. Check your credit report for mistakes and develop a plausible explanation if your credit score is poor, which might be the case for many college students. And for government or security positions, you need to have a perfectly clean record in terms of character and behavior. If you’ve had any criminal charges, even if they occurred years ago and have been resolved or proven false, check the internet to make sure you have a clean slate.
  5. Consider your internship target companies. If you’re looking for a highly competitive, paid internship that could lead to a permanent position with a Fortune 500 company, then you might want to double and even triple check any online data about yourself, including political interests, buying habits, and hobbies. The petition you signed online or political blog on which you commented during an election might alienate a company that supported an opposing candidate.
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Q: What are your best tips for finding a fall internship?

September 13, 2010

A.You have lots of resources on internships.com to help you get started. If you don’t know exactly what kind of internship you want, the Internship Predictor can help you out. Here are our top 5 tips to remember when you begin your search:

  1. Visit your Career Center for advice. You may find that new internships have come in since school started. Companies usually offer internship opportunities year-round to a school. The virtual or remote internship often works well for a Fall internship because you can work online at your own convenience and not miss any classes or activities.
  2. How many hours can you work, and where? You may be limited by class hours and location. If you have transportation issues, you could consider taking an internship on campus.
  3. Review your resume and cover letter.  Update your resume with any summer accomplishments, including jobs, volunteer work, sport achievements, travel, or new skills, such as foreign languages. Write a basic cover letter that you can customize for every application.
  4. Network! Talk to other students, friends, and family members about your interest in a Fall internship. They may know of an opening in their companies. A potential intern may have had to step down from the internship, leaving it vacant. Then, send out your resume and customized cover letter, using your contact person as a reference.
  5. Create your own internship. If nothing comes up that you want, design your own Fall internship in a company that appeals to you. Write up a proposed internship description and send it to the human resources department and follow up with a phone call to set up an appointment. Present your ideas and your available hours and you may soon find yourself in the perfect Fall internship.

Good luck!  Have other tips you could recommend?  Please list them in the comments!

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A. Absolutely. You have lots of resources on internships.com to help you get started. If you don’t know exactly what kind of internship you want, the Internship Predictor can help you out. Or the Company Directory can help you identify companies and people that you want to reach. Here are our top 5 tips to remember when you begin your search:

  1. Visit your Career Center for advice. You may find that new internships have come in since school started. Companies usually offer internship opportunities year-round to a school. The virtual or remote internship often works well for a Fall internship because you can work online at your own convenience and not miss any classes or activities.
  2. Decide how many hours you want to put into a Fall internship and where you want to do your internship. You may be limited by class hours and location. If you have transportation issues, you could consider taking an internship on campus.
  3. Review your resume and cover letter, updating your resume with any summer accomplishments, including jobs, volunteer work, sport achievements, travel, or new skills, such as foreign languages. Write a basic cover letter that you can customize for every application.
  4. Network. Talk to other students, friends, and family members about your interest in a Fall internship. They may know of an opening in their companies. A potential intern may have had to step down from the internship, leaving it vacant. Then, send out your resume and customized cover letter, using your contact person as a reference.
  5. Create your own internship. If nothing comes up that you want, design your own Fall internship in a company that appeals to you. Write up a proposed internship description and send it to the human resources department and follow up with a phone call to set up an appointment. Present your ideas and your available hours and you may soon find yourself in the perfect Fall internship.

5 Tips: Find internship opportunities online

September 10, 2010

You can find thousands of internships online—internships.com alone lists nearly 21,000 postings featuring over 10,000 companies! And if you already know the company in which you want an internship, you can go directly to the company on internships.com or to the company Web site for more information on how to apply for an internship. Here are our top 5 tips for maximizing your success in finding online internship openings:

1.      Understand the search process, which is similar to Googling. Enter the keywords, such as the field/major, state, or city. If you’re unsure of what you want, search all states or enter a broad field, such as Communications. Then, narrow your choices by paid or unpaid, college credit or not, or by hours required. Be wary of internships that lack descriptions or don’t list responsibilities. If you’re uncertain about a company, Google it to find our more about its history and business operations.

2.      Check dates. Each online internship posting lists a date, stating when the internship starts. More and more internships have open dates and are available year-round, allowing you to do your internship at a time that fits your schedule. Companies are becoming much more flexible, so even if the posted dates are not convenient, the company may work to accommodate your availability. Don’t hesitate to ask.

3.      Update your resume and cover letter. Make sure that you add all new information, including any campus organizations that you’ve just joined or class projects or volunteer work that you’ve begun. Since most online internships involve phone interviews, you might want to consider what you would say during the interview. You could even ask a friend to role play with you in preparation.

4.      Explore virtual or remote internships. Doing an internship from your own computer in your dorm room can seem like an excellent way to gain experience. But be sure to check them out carefully since you won’t be onsite. Find out how much mentoring you’ll receive and who will be your key contact. Do get a clear description of the type of work you’ll be doing. It helps if you can view the work of former virtual interns. And review the terms of payment, academic credit, and expected hours.

5.      Follow up on your online applications. Email each company to make sure that your application was received, and ask how long the process will take. Indicate your enthusiasm for the internship, emphasizing your skills. If you have the name of the person who receives the online applications, direct your inquiries to that person. Otherwise, call the company and ask the receptionist to connect you to the appropriate department or person. Since a company may receive hundreds of online applications, you want to make sure that your name stands out.

Too busy for an internship? Find one on campus

August 27, 2010

Your junior and senior years are very busy ones. You’re spending a lot of time studying for your major courses, and you probably have a leadership role in organizations. You realize that you should fit in an internship, but how and where? Around the campus is the answer.

The campus community, understanding that you have many priorities, is a flexible environment for an internship. The career center is the place to start looking for an internship that fits your schedule rather than an internship where you have to fit into company hours. Take a list of your available hours, the kinds of internships that interest you, and an updated resume. Discuss with a counselor what is the best “fit” for you, and then go to on-campus interviews.

If you already know what departments and offices of the campus appeal to you, you could approach them yourself, even if they don’t offer internships or have an opening. Before you make an appointment with the appropriate person in the desired area, develop an internship proposal with your available hours, suggested duties, and various talents, such as computer skills. You might volunteer to do an experimental internship for them, facilitating future internships that could be helpful to the department or office as well as other students.

Consider doing an internship on campus over the weekend, which may be less busy for you than doing the week. Internships in these areas may revolve around sports or special events sponsored by different offices. For example, the admissions office often brings in prospective students, the alumni office hosts alumni, or an academic department holds a campus conference.

One other choice for a campus internship is to go virtual.  Many departments or professors work on research projects and would value your input as a researcher, which you can do on your computer at your convenience. Other departments could use your help with online projects or Web sites, ensuring you can do a remote internship—no matter how busy you are.

Professors can help you find internship opportunities

August 23, 2010

You may be in your freshman or sophomore year, but you already have a few favorite professors whom you admire. And you may also have a few classes that inspire you to find out more about a particular area of study. Create a list of your favorite professors and classes and make a game plan to talk to the teachers and teaching assistants, too, about potential internships. Professors have lots of contacts outside of the university with colleagues, professional associations, publishers, and specialists in related fields. Teaching assistants usually have had internships and also have professional connections.

First, set up an appointment with each person, requesting advice. Arrive with a list of questions and take notes. If the professor or teaching assistant mentions names of contacts, be sure to ask if you can use the professor or teaching assistant as a reference in making the contact. During your appointment, refrain from talking too much or staying too long. You’ll be more welcome the next time. Before you leave, give the person a copy of your resume and ask if he/she would give you some feedback on it. You may want to make a follow-up appointment to continue the discussion. And write or email a thank-you message immediately to show your appreciation. If the professor or teaching assistant has been extremely helpful, you could consider taking him/her to a casual lunch or giving an inexpensive gift.

Another approach to enlisting a professor’s help is to volunteer to assist him/her on a project. Most professors are engaged in projects based on grants and need help to finish the projects on time. You might be able to perform research or compile reports, facilitating the process and earning the professor’s goodwill in helping you find an internship. Such volunteer efforts might also be good additions to your resume when you’re going for an internship.

Even first semester freshmen can check out internships!

August 16, 2010

You’ve just moved into a dorm, and you were elected a student representative. You’ve just taken your first test, and you’ve gotten an “A.” You’ve just gone to your first school football game, and your team won. You’re on a roll, so it’s time to check out the internship situation at your school.  Although you might not be ready in your first semester to take on an internship, it’s not too early to find out more about your future options.

You can start by going over to the campus career center and finding out what internships are available to you as a second semester freshmen or during the summer of your freshmen year.  One of the career counselors will help you understand what type of internship would work for you. Other decisions involve location of the internship, paid or unpaid, availability of academic credit, foreign language requirements, and housing help if necessary.

Another way to educate yourself on internships is to search for internship openings on internships.com, reviewing thousands of internships worldwide. The site also offers assessment tests to help you learn what kind of internship would suit you best. You can search by company to find out if you prefer a large or small company or a nonprofit. You may want to try one of each during your college career to determine what environment is the right “fit” for you. Internships really help you rule out what you don’t want as well as show you what you do want.

Internships.com also offers the Internship Predictor, a quick and free assessment tool which asks you a series of questions then delivers a set of recommendations for the types of internships and/or careers best for your work style and values.  You could take this to get an idea of what types of internships to start planning for in future semesters.

Network with other students who have completed internships to hear about their experiences. You could make a list of all the internships that you learn about and rank them according to your interest, so when you’re ready to apply for an internship, you have a starting point. Your first internship should be a great learning experience but not overwhelming. Choose an internship in which you know you’ll succeed, boosting your confidence level.

How To Make Time For An Internship In the School Year

August 10, 2010

You’re going to school full-time, working part-time, and taking a leadership role in campus activities. If you’re a junior or senior, your life is probably on overload. How will you ever make time for an internship even though it’s the link to your future?  Traditional summer internships may not work for you if you have to take summer classes or work at a summer job to make money to pay your fall tuition. You do have options.

As an upperclassman, you could pursue an internship on campus with your major professor or department, saving you commuter time. Or check in with your campus career center or internships.com to find out what’s available in nearby locations. And ask your employer at your part-time job if the company has an internship that might be suitable for you. If your employer says no, consider applying for paid internships elsewhere that might provide enough income so that you wouldn’t need your part-time job.

If classes and work take up most of your week, look for an internship on the weekend. Entertainment, tourism, sports and special events, research and marketing as well as security and healthcare often need interns on the weekends. However, if you find the perfect internship, and it’s during the week, suggest that you do the required hours in one or two blocks of time rather than four or five, saving time in transportation.

Your school may be one of the growing number offering full-time, month-long internships in the winter break during the month of January. Classes are not in session and perhaps you can take a leave of absence from your job rather than having to give it up. Then, you’ll have completed your internship in one compact period. Another option is to explore remote or virtual internships, working from your computer at your convenience. To free up time for an internship, you may have to cut back on current campus activities during your internship.