As May rolls around every year, the most popular question amongst college students becomes, “What are your plans for the summer? Did you get a job?” As the questions roll off the tongue, the conversation can go in one of two directions. The student will either be elated with the fact that they have the opportunity to brag about the internship position they were offered, or instead will be instantly flushed and their embarrassment will begin to ensue. I stumbled upon an article from the Wall Street Journal Careers Blog entitled, “So You Want a Summer Job” and it provided some valuable insight into the student job pursuit. Since the article is on the short side, I have highlighted some specific points, to offer a bit of assistance with the hunt.
College students have it harder these days; they have to get their foot in the door early or the job they have always dreamed of will remain a dream forever. Now, even though that sounds intimidating, let’s be real. Although landing a job might be more complex, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. As you begin your search, use the following tips and the road to “real life” might get a little bit easier.
Tip 1: Don’t wait until the last minute. Be proactive!
You may feel burdened by all the school work you have to get out of the way, but everyone knows college students often have an abundance of free time. Instead of skimming Facebook or reading your Twitter feed, devote some of that time to searching for a job or internship that seems interesting to you. Truthfully, it is never too early to start. If you’re looking for a summer position, begin your process as early as first semester! It never hurts to be ahead of the game and have the advantage of being exposed to all available positions.
Tip 2: Start making appointments with your school’s career center.
Many schools now even offer their services online through a career portal along with face-to-face appointments. You should definitely utilize those resources, because I can guarantee that you aren’t the first case your advisor has ever seen. They have knowledge of all the career fairs and company speakers that are scheduled to be on your campus, seeking students, just like you. Many career centers also provide mock interview sessions for you to become accustomed to the corporate setting and be prepared when the time comes. Take advantage of it!
Tip 3: Who you know can be just as valuable as what you know.
It’s no secret that references can facilitate entrance into Corporate America. Some view this as something negative; however, I seem to think it is quite the opposite. Someone of status and merit within a company, that is willing to put their name out there for a potential new hire, must know the talent that lies within them. Granted, it is up to the new hire to prove themselves, but you have to start somewhere, right? It is also important to remember that relying on someone you know to help you get the job probably isn’t the smartest idea. With that being said, don’t think an amazing opportunity is just going to fall right into your lap. Nothing is more fulfilling than getting it done on your own.
Tip 4: Don’t get discouraged!
As you are putting so much effort towards one single goal, you will probably expect to see instant results. Begin accepting that it’s not always going to be the case. Although instant gratification would be ideal, you are going to have to play the waiting game just like everyone else. Just because you don’t hear back right away doesn’t mean the company isn’t interested in you; keep your head up! When the company does reach back out to you, always take the interview if one is offered, whether it was your first choice or not. At the very least, it is good practice. Your hard work will pay off in the long run, I promise!
When you’re a student, I know summer internships or future jobs aren’t always on the top of your mind. Putting a little time in every day to secure a spot in your future wouldn’t be the worst thing you could do, that’s for sure! As the old adage says, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”