Internships are one of the most important experiences during your college years. They offer a chance to gain real-world experience without the time commitment of traditional employment. However, it can be difficult to get one when you don’t know what to look for, especially with recent country-wide layoffs.
One of the most important (and sadly most underutilized) resources for internship applications is your own university’s services. From resume services to university sponsored programs, there are various ways that you can get free help on your internship and job applications.
Use Resume Services
The first step in any internship application is your resume. Depending on the university, some programs may offer a free resume review with career guidance counselors. In these reviews, counselors can meet one-on-one or in a group with students to rewrite their resume. With the rise of applicant tracking systems (ATS) in application sorting, your resume has to pass through robots that are looking for the right keywords, and many students may not know how to exactly write up their skills and experiences. These meetings help to show exactly what recruiters are looking for in applications and how to find and apply to jobs that could be a good fit for your skill set.
These same resume and career services can be up to $50-$700 dollars outside of college, so it’s important to take advantage of these free opportunities. Even if you think your resume is perfect, learning what goes into writing and reviewing resumes gives you important information for the long run.
Apply to Internship Grants
Many students may not know this, but many colleges actually offer money for students to participate in internships! Internship grants are stipends provided by the university to allow students to participate in opportunities that may not otherwise be paid. Depending on the university, they can fund summer, fall/spring internships, or on-campus work opportunities. This will allow you to gain experience and build your portfolio, without having to worry about your finances.
Of course, these programs can be competitive, so make sure to attend any information sessions your university hosts in regards to their grant program. Some internships also may not be covered by some programs, so before you do apply, have a meeting with your university’s career services to make sure you meet all the requirements.
Attend University Career Fairs
One of the most important things you can do to make your resume stand out is to network. Career fairs offer the perfect place for them. After fixing up your resume, and researching on job boards about possible internships you can apply for, career fairs are the perfect place to speak with recruiters. Although some cities may offer sponsored fairs, university-hosted ones allow a place to connect and network with alumni and build a genuine connection with recruiters.
Attending these fairs allow you to get the recruiters contact information, ethier through LinkedIn or email, and foster a relationship opportunity other applicants may not get. However, career fairs can often be a hit-or-miss, depending on who is attending and what the expectation is for job applicants. If you do decide to attend a career fair, make sure to supplement it with modern solutions such as PathMatch’s expansive job database to ensure you aren’t missing out on any opportunities.
Talk to Professors
Maybe some of the internship opportunities aren’t catching your eye. Or maybe there just aren’t currently any internships available for your specific field. No matter where you’re at, professors can be your helping hand.
Even if they may not know of any internships, building a connection allows an opportunity for a recommendation, or a teacher’s assistant position. However, it’s important to build this connection early on. If you ask for a research opportunity or recommendation without ever talking to your professor, then it can seem unprofessional or rude. Ask questions throughout your time in the class, whether it’s regarding classwork or industry related questions. Be engaged and if you’re passionate enough, the professor could even reach out to you for an unique opportunity.
By doing these steps, you will be able to take full advantage of the free services universities can provide, all while gaining an internship to help with your long-term career goals.
Still looking for internships? PathMatch can help you find and apply for internships that align with your interests. Sign up for your free PathMatch profile today!