“So, what did you do this summer?” is the ultimate question that parents, peers and professors press students with the first weeks of the fall semester.
But what if you didn’t get the internship you wanted last summer?
Make up for it in 2013.
It's never too early to get started. Some students already feel the pressure to prepare for next summer such as University of California Los Angeles student Becca Morgan. “Now that my friends and I are juniors, many of us are stressed about having something to show companies when we graduate,” she said.
Rather than allow the stress to build, here's how to prepare in advance:
Get in the Internship Mindset
Before getting buried with schoolwork and midterms it’s a good idea for undergrads to spend time updating and working on their resumes. Many universities across the country offer resume and interview workshops that provide students with a solid skill set. “This is something that is good to work on now when you have the time, as a good resume in a necessity,” Maria Stein, director of career services at Northeastern University said.
In addition, Stein encourages students to set up a LinkedIn page which allows students to network online. She argues, “This will make you a more attractive candidate if you are able to keep in touch with employers.” She further suggests that now may be the time for students to start editing their Facebook pages, as many companies will look at potential candidate’s profiles.
Must I start applying now?
“Not necessarily,” says Louis Gaglini, associate director for employer relations at Boston College. “Although some of the larger and more competitive companies tend to recruit in the fall, most wait until the spring.”
However, it is still beneficial to plan ahead by getting in contact with potential companies that interest students. Making early connections is a vital component of the internship process.
Often, a concern for undergrads is the toss-up regarding having an internship during the school year. While some students are able to handle the balancing act, others are not. This doesn’t mean they’re behind in the game. Gaglini suggests that busier students try an externship, which allows students to shadow a company leader in their daily tasks for a short amount of time. “The downside is you are not making a direct contribution, the plus-side is externships often lead to interviews and later even internships,” Gaglini said.
Seek Out Opportunities
Ultimately, the most important thing for all students is to take advantage of any opportunity given whether it’s through a career fair, a teacher offering research participation or even just a chance to enhance computer skills. Regardless of what students decide to do, they are bound to be one step ahead for summer 2013.