For Students: How-To (2)
How to Stage a Summer Internship
By: Alex, UPromise Contributor
Its easy to think of June as being light years away. But for those of you who want to find a challenging and rewarding summer internship, don't wait a moment longer. Now is the perfect time to get to work on the application process. Here are a few tips that could help you maximize your chances for a great summer internship.
This rule might seem like common sense, but as members of generation procrastination, we tend to break it at every opportunity; start early. With our trusty Google search engines by our side, our generation has developed a reliance on last second information gathering. While that might work for writing a paper on 19th century philosophy, it doesn't give you time for a thorough internship search. With midterms and finals still several weeks away, January is an excellent time to make a list of where you want to apply, slick up your resume, and start writing cover letters (I know, I know, you have 5 months; but you'll be relieved come spring time!). Searching online job databases like Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com can be helpful, but also include companies and organizations that you want to work for, even if you can't find open positions. There are lots of internships that aren't advertised, and even if your top choices don't have any open positions, putting your resume on their radars can't hurt.
Resumes that Stand Out
When updating your resume, keep this in mind; you can't throw in everything but the kitchen sink. As most career services advisers will tell you, a resume is supposed to emphasize what makes you stand out in a clear and concise fashion. Hirers won't have time to look through dense layers of text about every single one of your accomplishments. Highlight your past experiences, skills and achievements that make you look the strongest for the specific position you're applying for. These things don't all have to be directly tied to the field in question, but they should highlight your greatest strengths as a prospective employee.
Connections, Connections, Connections
While some people get lucky and snag an awesome internship based solely on the merit of their application, don't just sit back and roll the dice on whether someone will notice you. It's debatable as to how big of a role patronage plays in our society, but it's a given that personal connections can do wonders. This is not to say that merit doesn't matter. But in order to maximize your internship possibilities, you can't just rely on applications alone. Get your resume into as many hands as possible. Whether it's family, friends, former employers, or professors at school, use every possible resource available to you. Ask them for advice on where to apply and who to talk to. I know several people who have gotten great internships by giving their resume to someone they know, who passed it on to others until it finally got into the hands of someone who could offer a position.
Alex is a senior at Northwestern University studying political science and journalism. In 2008 he wrote about and reported on the Obama-McCain presidential race for First Read, NBC’s political blog.
Turn Your College Internship into a Full-Time Job
By: Rosemary Haefner
Young job seekers who can't seem to land full-time employment may want to tap into a segment of the job market that is always recommended, but often overlooked: internships.
Internships have always been encouraged among college students and recent graduates, but they've never been more important than in the current economy. In this competitive job market, the first thing employers are looking for is relevant experience. Internships help not only to build skill sets and establish successful track records, but they offer great networking opportunities to land a full-time position after graduation.
Fifty-nine percent of employers said they are likely to hire their college interms as full-time, permanent employees, according to a new survey from CBcampus.com, CareerBuilder.com's college job-search site. Twenty-four percent of hiring managers said they plan to hire college interns in the first half of 2009, while 12 percent plan to do so as early as the fourth quarter of 2008.
Earning money . . . and experience
For employers, the most valuable part of an internship is providing young people with real-world experience, as well as an enhanced skill set. But for the interns, the most valuable part also includes the contribution an internship makes to their bank accounts.
The majority (62 percent) of employers looking for college interns say they plan to pay them $10 or more per hour. Twenty-three percent will pay in excess of $15 per hour and to a lucky few, 9 percent of employers will dish out more than $20 per hour. Only 14 percent of hiring managers said they are offering unpaid positions.
What are employers looking for?
Many students in internships don't know what hiring managers are looking for in potential full-time candidates. When asked which factors were among the most important in influencing their decision to hire a college intern permanently, employers cited the candidate's aptitude to produce timely, quality work (77 percent); critical-thinking and problem-solving skills (76 percent); and level of professionalism (73 percent).
If you're looking to turn your internship into a full-time gig, here are five tips to help you:
- Treat your internship like an extended job interview – because it is. Arrive on time, beat (or at the very least meet) deadlines and consistently deliver strong work.
- Seek out challenges – Employers want employees who show initiative and a desire to learn and develop. The majority of employers (59 percent) are more likely to permanently hire a college intern who asks for more responsibilities.
- Ask good questions – Employers know you don't have all the answers. In fact, 46 percent said candidates who come to them with thoughtful questions have a better chance of getting hired full time.
- Remember the golden rule – Always be respectful, address co-workers courteously and don't get caught up in office gossip.
- Leave a positive impression – Show enthusiasm for the projects you're working on and the company overall; don't complain; and refrain from e-mailing or talking to friends.
About the Author: Rosemary Haefner is the vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder.com. She is an expert in recruitment trends and tactics, job seeker behavior, workplace issues, employee attitudes and HR initiatives.