This blog post was written by Pragati, our Campus Ambassador from the University of Georgia.
Now that you’ve been accepted to a college, what’s next? As a college freshman you may get overwhelmed with the new environment, freedom, hot parties, and loads of work. With all of that going on don’t forget that freshmen year is the perfect year to begin your internship search and make sure that you are on the right path to success. You may not qualify for your dream internship just yet, but if you follow the tips below you will surely be able to land an internship your first year!
1. Utilize the career center. It is there for a reason so definitely take advantage of it. It provides services such as resume critique, interview prep, and helps you choose a major. The career center will give you the essential tools you need for a successful internship process.
2. Join organizations. Join organizations that you have passion for and wouldn’t mind putting in extra time when needed. Join 2-3 organizations your first semester and try to run for a leadership role the following semester. Not only will this help build up your resume but it will give you the skills that internship recruiters require.
3. Go to professional events. Every college has professional events where they may have a panel of speakers and networking event afterwards. This is a great way to meet people that are already where you want to be and with that it also allows for an opportunity for mentorship and building your network.
4. Know your professors. If you are going to a big university then there is a possibility of having over 300 students in your class. Professors don’t know you unless you put forth the effort to get to know them. Go to the office hours and simply introduce yourself. Not only will that keep you on track academically but it will also help expand your network which may lead to internship opportunities.
5. Seek advice from upperclassmen. Ask successful juniors and seniors what they did to land their dream internships. You will be surprised by how much you can learn from your peers.
6. Network! Network! Network! I cannot emphasize this enough. Even as a qualifying candidate it helps if you already have a connection with the employer. When you are at a career fair, don’t be so impatient that you rush into asking “what opportunities do you have for me?” Instead introduce yourself, discuss your career goals, and develop a connection. More than likely the opportunities will come up on their own.
7. Stay in touch. When you meet professionals at various events don’t just keep their business card! Contact them and thank them for their time. Contact them again 5-6 months later to update them and see how things are going on their end. Trust me it goes a long way!
8. Prioritize. When you are looking to join organizations, stay focused academically, and work it is important that you prioritize. It is easy to get caught up in trying to do everything all at once so make sure that you are aware of what must be done and what can wait.
9. Go above and beyond. Whether you have a job on campus or you are simply a member in an organization go above and beyond in everything that you commit your time to. You never know who knows who.
10. Be persistent. Now that you are ready to begin your internship search, keep in mind that you will face rejections. Chances are you are not going to land the first internship you apply for so make sure that you do not give up. Let employers know that although you are a freshman with little experience you are willing to learn and work hard.