Saturday, January 24th 2015
In our work with college students, we empower them to seek out and create internship opportunities that are organic. A similar approach to when they planned their high school summers and extracurricular activities, preparing for college (and admissions).
What are their passions? How do their course selections and college major correlate? What activities do they engage in outside of classes? What do they care about? Do they (or their parents ) have any connections to individuals in these areas (past or present)?
This week, a journalist interviewed me for Forbes’ article on writing cover letters when you have no experience. It actually became an internship how-to tutorial session for the writer, as her son is in the process of trying to get a college summer internship. I heard lots of note taking during the interview. I was actually very happy to share my recommended strategies. So here’s a very brief how-to you can impart to your own college students:
- Build a customized resume and cover letter – take the time to alter it for each opportunity
- Create a digital footprint – build a LinkedIn profile and remove inappropriate social media; connect socially with influencers in your area of interest
- Pursue passions – nothing resonates more with an employer than personal experience
- Network – in person and online – college professors, summer programs you attended, high school/college club advisors, past employers, upperclassmen, college alumni and career services, parent professional contacts, career conferences and fairs, etc. This tends to pay off down the road
- Think virtual – you need experience to get experience. Create a virtual opportunity
- Persevere – hard work pays off; and it is far more rewarding than a hand-out (which lends itself to an entitlement interpretation)
- Get involved – at college, in causes. Social entrepreneurship is not just du jour
We don’t think it’s fair to expect college students to do this if they have not been taught how to develop and use the tools. But on the other hand, college students think they are far more prepared for the workplace than employers do. So students need to balance creativity with reality.
Need help? Reach out to us.