As winter break approaches, many of us on campus are just thinking about relaxing for the first time in over three months and not having to worry about studying or writing papers. However, winter break can also be a great time to start thinking about and applying for summer internship opportunities.
Summer might seem like a long way off, but internships for the sea- son are already starting to pop up. Michele Poruban, who oversees experiential learning at the office of Career and Post-Graduate Development (CPD), explains that it is never too early to start look- ing and preparing for internships. “Whether preparing an application for an internship, job, fellowship, or graduate school, you will benefit from having plenty of time to research for a good fit, get input from your network, and pre- pare strong documents,” Poruban said.
“A search often takes three to six months, so it is an excellent idea to start thinking about your internship plans now,” Poruban explained. “Some organizations will open and hire for their summer opportunities in early fall. However, don’t worry if you didn’t start searching for your internship yet, there will be internship postings throughout the spring.”
Poruban generated a helpful list of tips to consider when embarking on the internship application process. “Getting organized is key,” Poruban stated. “I suggest students treat their search like a class by designating specific time(s) each week to search for opportunities, submit applications, connect with their net- work, and follow-up on applications.”
Researching internships can get complicated and overwhelming at times, but there is no need to let this stress you out. There are many steps you can take to keep yourself organized and proactive. Poruban explained, “Developing a system to track your internship search is important. This process may include keeping copies of internship descriptions, writing reflections on what appeals to you about the various internships, plus maintaining a calendar to record application submissions and follow-up conversations.”
Being home for break offers many opportunities when thinking about internships. “Use the opportunity when home to connect with organizations in-person to inquire about internship openings; you also may be able to secure an interview to help solidify your summer internship plans,” Poruban went on to say. “Break is a wise time to reach out to your network of family, past coworkers or supervisors, family friends and alumni to ask for advice on the internship search.”
Career sites such as LinkedIn and Hand- shake are helpful sources to use when researching internships. As Poruban said, “LinkedIn is a social network that focuses on professional networking and career development. Through the platform students have connected with professionals and alumni to secure internship leads and offers.” Poruban further explained, “LinkedIn is an excellent tool that can help students connect. Downtime from classes is a fantastic time to set up your profile, research the profiles of specialist in your field(s) of interest, and reach out to professionals.”
Handshake can be used to make appointments with CPD, but it can also be a helpful tool when sorting through internship opportunities. “Handshake lists hundreds of internships,” Poruban said. “Students use key words to find an internship match and then filter the options to find internships that are a close commute to their hometown. Many student applications are submitted each week, leading to interviews and internship offers.”
Finally, Poruban emphasizes how CPD can be a big help when starting and pursuing your summer internship search. “Career and Post-Graduate Development has numerous resources to help students find an internship,” Poruban explained. “Students are encouraged to visit us in 110 Bomberger for a one-on-one appointment.
In our meeting we can outline a plan to meet your personal goals and fit your timeline. If your schedule is busy, a walk- in appointment between 2 and 3 PM, Monday through Friday may be a good way to get started.”