But wait, it’s only March? What do they mean, “Not too late”…my student hasn’t even thought that far ahead yet or starting applying to internships!
We know it can be a bit of a shock to realize that some internship deadlines are well in advance of summer start times, but it is the truth. If your student is finding that many of the employers they want to intern with have already closed their application portals, there are still some options. First, though, we recommend that they develop a spreadsheet or some tracking method for reminding themselves next year of when to apply for those “early bird” internships. Use this year’s situation as a learning tool for future success!
Next, have them look at smaller or more local employers for opportunities. Many of the big league organizations do tend to have early deadlines for internships, but smaller firms often do not, so they may find many wonderful options that they had not previously considered. All UMW students have a Handshake account that they can use for internship and job searching. This is one method for finding and researching internships from all over the country.
Another method of finding internships is through networking. There is a large LinkedIn community that the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) manages. It is called Eagle Connections, University of Mary Washington and exists specifically for the purpose of allowing students to connect on the topic of jobs and internships with UMW alumni and friends of UMW. In addition, friends, family, and community can all be valuable sources for intern openings. Be sure to remind your student to have their resume ready to go before they start networking. Nothing stalls a great lead like having to scramble to create a resume, or worse yet, sending a poorly-written one. The CCPD has staff and trained students peer advisers who are available to help your student develop their resume.
Faculty can also provide internship leads. Some UMW departments share internship information on old-school bulletin boards, others have lists of intern sites for their majors on their websites. Your student should check both frequently, and touch base with their department adviser and administrative assistant for new leads.
If, despite putting forth their best effort, your student does not find a summer internship, please encourage them to stay active and engaged in their career development over the summer. They can look for a job shadowing opportunity, set up a few informational interviews, and more!
Mary Becelia, Career Coach, Center for Career & Professional Development