This is a guest blog post from Campus Ambassador Sarah Dougherty.
Many college students struggle to balance the growing importance of internships and cultural awareness experience during their undergraduate careers. Some students opt to co-op or intern instead of participate in a study abroad program, but it doesn’t have to—and shouldn’t—be an either/or decision. I had a lot of concerns about my upcoming semester in Spain because I was worried about losing the chance for an incredible internship. I sat down, talked with other study abroad students and made a game plan. It takes more effort and coordination, but it is definitely possible to land a great summer internship in the U.S. from abroad.
Here are some tips to stand out and make it happen:
- Do your research ahead of time. Don’t go abroad and then begin sending out resumes and cover letters. Know the companies you’re interested in, have an idea of their application and interview timeline (call them, read their Glassdoor profile, etc.) and make a plan before leaving the U.S.
- Take advantage of informational interviews. Most study abroad programs start later in the semester than domestic schools; use that extra time to have informational interviews. This will help them put a face to your name and motivate employers to give that extra effort to Skype and accommodate your limited Internet access and time difference.
- Have a relationship with your Career Center. Even though you won’t be on campus, your Career Center can still pass on opportunities and alumni connections to you. Give them a call or email and see if you can discuss what you’re looking for and any postings in their office. Most schools have online portals that employers use to advertise opportunities for internships and co-ops—make sure your latest cover letter and resume is posted and visible on the site!
- Make it known that you will be/are abroad. Put on your resume and in your cover letter the dates that you will be out of the country, and with it express flexibility and/or availability for Skype, Google Hangout, e-mail access, etc. This will explain to them why your email replies are time-stamped at 2 a.m. eastern time because it’s 8 a.m. in Spain, for example.
It may seem a little intimidating, but it is totally possible! And the fact that you are taking the initiative to apply and interview during your time abroad stands out a lot. You’ll need to impress over the internet, so be sure to pack a professional outfit with you to wear on these Skype interviews. Check out this blog For Skype interview tips! Good luck!