Getting the perfect internship

March 16, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Posted in Internship offers, Job market | Leave a comment
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by Troy D. Nunamaker

It’s no surprise that competition for internships, full-time jobs, and even part-time summer jobs is at an all time high right now. We’re working with our Clemson students, edging them to ramp up their internship application efforts—apply early and use superior materials.  

This year, there are a number of seniors and recent graduates who are applying for the same internship positions that a sophomore or junior would typically go after. At my institution, we have even seen some seniors extending graduation dates by applying to do an internship at the end of their academic career. This gives them more resume-building material and provides additional time before entering the full-time job market. On the other side of this influx in internship applicants, we have seen companies require those traditional training and skill sets at a higher caliber. Just having the basic knowledge, skills, and attitude is no longer enough to get the internship offer. Students we are working with now need to show that they can exceed the knowledge, skills, and attitude requirements of the position.

Thus, our younger students looking for an internship have to distinguish themselves from their peers and from older students and recent grads–showing the recruiter on resumes and in interviews that they have the skills, training and an overall good attitude about the position and their professional career. These things seem to go a long way towards getting an internship offer even in a rough economy.

Lastly, we have been telling students not to stop the search process after the resume has been submitted, or the interview has occurred. We coach and re-coach our students to: follow up. . . find a phone number to call to make sure the company has their complete application on file . . . go to an information session . . . ask for a shadowing experience. . . consider volunteering/interning for free.  In short, we want our students to get a name or face in front of potential employers as much as possible. The better an applicant can position themselves to market their skills, the more successful they will be in securing that perfect opportunity!

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