GET YOUR INTERNSHIP SEARCH INTO HIGH GEAR

By Guest Author on December 03, 2012

WHEN IS A GOOD TIME TO GET MY INTERNSHIP SEARCH INTO HIGH GEAR?  HOW ABOUT RIGHT AFTER YOU READ THIS BLOG POST?

Summer seems so far away.  As fall turns to winter, much of the country is currently shivering and breaking out gloves, mittens and coats.  It is as hard to think about summer and internships as much as it is to think about swimming, sunglasses and warmer weather.  However, you really should move internships to the top of the priority list. I would like to offer a few reasons why you should start now:

Internship Seeking Takes Time
– In all my years, I have yet to hear a story (feel free to write me if this has happened to you) where someone picked up the phone or sent an email and got an internship immediately. While that might happen in “Internship Seeking Fantasy Land,” the reality is that you need a practical, organized approach to your internship search. Identifying your target companies, reaching out to them, getting your interviews (likely phone screen or on-campus), and being invited for second round interviews (likely at the organization’s place of business) can actually take several months.

There is Less Competition NOW
– By showing early interest in an employer, you are actually showing something very important.  Motivation.  It is a magic word that employers love.  Students who are motivated to reach out to employers early are taken more seriously, and your candidacy will receive more attention because you are going against a smaller pool of competitors.  Even if they don’t have an opportunity now and say “keep in touch,” that means you have the inside track on a potential opening. As the days and months go into spring, you will be competing with more applicants and frankly can no longer claim “early bird status.”  While you will likely get an internship in those months, it might not be your top choice, and you will likely have to broaden your scope.

Opportunities Come to People Who Communicate Their Targets
– By pounding pavement and reaching out to people in your circle (friends, family, professors – heck, even people you babysat for in high-school or whose lawns you mowed), you raise your chances significantly of getting in the door at places of interest.  If you are not communicating your targets and interests to your networks, then nobody can help you get closer to an internship.

Internships Come to Students Who are Battle Tested
– While I would like to say that I nailed every interview of my entire life (that is my fantasy world), it is just not true.  Interviewing is an art and a science.  The more practice you get, the more comfortable you are in the medium.  You can mock interview to your heart’s content, but in reality there is no practice like the real thing. Frankly, by bombing on a couple of interviews you can learn a ton about your approach, style and necessary data points to improve.  Why not get your bad interviews out early, so you raise your chances as your evolve in your internship search?

The More Time You Search The More You Will Like It
– I don’t know about you, but I need time to get my head around a new project.  I start slowly, and only after I have thought about it, do I get myself out of the gate and moving.  The more you internship search, the faster you will get at the actual act of internship seeking.  Phone calls, emails, follow-up.  It will become more familiar, as if you are brushing your teeth. You might even like the process, because you are meeting very interesting people along the way.

So if you have made it to the end of this blog post, I give you full permission to get a move on your internship search! Set up a meeting at your career center. Call someone for an informational interview. Revamp your resume.  Use great career references like the After College Internship Channel. Small actions lead to larger actions.  Go get’em!


About Jason Levin
Jason Levin founded Ready, Set, Launch, LLC, www.readysetlaunch.net, after a 15-year career in brand management at Unilever, consulting at Accenture and employer branding at Vault.com.  Career and outplacement coaching is his passion. He works with clients who are late in their careers, in mid-career transition, reentering the workforce or just graduating from undergraduate or graduate school.  He helps his clients land that next job, get a promotion, make a career change or transition into retirement. Jason has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Money, Fortune, and MarketWatch on career related articles. Jason received his MBA from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business in 2006.

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