At the end of our college career, it is safe to say we all strive for the same goal: to graduate with a full time job. In today’s world having a college diploma does not automatically get you hired. One of the best ways to distinguish yourself among other graduates and to get a hands-on experience for your dream career is to have an internship. Getting an internship can be extremely competitive and difficult, especially in the Philadelphia area, which is home to thousands of undergrad students across multiple universities. Luckily, we have a few tips to make your internship journey run smoothly this year.
Use your resources: The Career Development Center!
Disguised as a little white house behind the admissions building, the Career Development Center (we have highlighted its location in the map below) holds a plethora of resources to help SJU students succeed professionally. One of the most widely used forms of assistance the CDC offers is Handshake, a social platform that allows students to submit their resumes and browse upon potential job listings. Handshake gives students the opportunity to have their resumes professionally edited by a CDC staff member. On campus interviews, are another resource offered to students where recruiters come to SJU and interview with students for potential employment. SJU Connects, an online platform that allows current students to network with SJU alumni, is a hidden gem within the Career Development Center. Students have the ability speak with alumni and make connections across the professional world. In addition to these staple resources, throughout the academic year the CDC hosts different events like Professional Clothing Pop Up Shops, Networking Nights and Professional Workshops. Make sure you keep an eye out for these events and take advantage of them!
Don’t be afraid to jump in during the Fall and Spring Semesters!
Most students strive for a summer internship, but many companies offer internships during the spring and fall. Adding an internship to a rigorous academic semester could seem impossible at times. The key to juggling school and work is time-management. Get on a schedule and stick to it! Try writing down everything that needs to get done, and make a checklist. Work with the Arts and Science Advising Center or the William F. Leahy Center (for business students). The advising centers will help create a class schedule that collaborates with your internship hours. The Career Development Center can help you find internships that are flexible with your school hours. These resources will help you develop your personal way to manage your time and will give you the strongest leg up when it comes to interning.
Having a polished portfolio is always a great idea! (Especially as an Arts/Sciences Major)
If you keep a sleek and consistent record of all your significant accomplishments, you will always be one step ahead of the internship game. A portfolio doesn’t have to be an old school folder full of your works. It can be less traditional like a blog, YouTube channel, or Instagram. Fellow SJU Hawk, Marina Maida, a senior communications major scored a grand internship with Comcast due to her extensive portfolio on her own blog.
“Having your own website is affordable and easy, and it allows you to not only showcase your resume but expand upon it”, Maida said, when asked about the importance of having a blog/portfolio.
Marina believes that having a portfolio and being able to articulate about your works proficiently is key when internship hunting. Whether its a traditional portfolio, blog or branded instagram, any form of media that makes you look your best will be extremely helpful.
Make sure that your resume is up to a high standard (Especially as a business major).
A professional resume shows an employer or recruiter what kind of intern they are welcoming into their workspace. A good resume should be clear, concise and organized, you can view some examples here. A cluttered resume discourages employers from even reading it, let alone offering an interview. The end goal of a resume is to capture the employer’s attention. It safe to say that Donald Morris, a senior accounting and finance double major here at SJU, is a seasoned resume crafter and has done just that. He recently received a full time offer from KPMG upon interning with them this past summer.
“Resumes give people the availability to quickly and easily understand your skills and experiences. It’s an official document that allows you to talk about yourself and your best qualities in the most professional way”, Morris said, when asked about the importance of having a well-constructed resume.
A resume is the first snapshot of yourself that an employer receives, it crucial that leaves it a good first impression.
Last but not least, brush up on your interview skills!
Being confident, prepared, and professional in an interview setting is essential for internships, and many other challenges in life. Utilize the people around you to practice. Have a mock-interview with your roommate, ask a professor about your delivery, or swing by the trusty Career Development Center. Don’t be afraid to receive criticism, it is important to embrace your communication weaknesses and work on them!
Whether you are a freshman or junior, going after an internship can be scary. The best way to approach the intense internship season is to develop a sturdy tool box through the resources listed and apply them to shine in any stage of the internship process.