I’ll be the one to say it: freshmen, you have a huge advantage over sophomores, juniors, and even seniors. It’s true that upperclassmen have a better shot at getting top internships, especially in accounting/finance. Often, companies don’t open applications to sophomores or freshmen, but that’s not because they’re not interested in you.
Quite the opposite – many internship programs only take upperclassmen because the primary purpose of their internship program is to feed into full-time roles, but recruiters and companies are always looking for talented people who might be interested in working for them in the future. While you might not be able to get the actual job now, you should start building business relationships today that will help you down the road. Showing your interest in a company early on is the best way to land at the top of the application pile in a year or two.
But here’s the thing: You can’t get comfortable being comfortable. What I mean is you shouldn’t allow yourself to think “I’m only a freshman, I have a few years before I start thinking seriously about my resume, internships, or networking”. That is comfortable. That is easy. That is how 90-95% of students approach their freshmen year. Everything that professors, Chase Career Center advisors, your parents, upperclassmen, and business blogs online tell you is work. It’s tedious, it’s not always fun, and it is uncomfortable. If you are truly motivated to succeed, you will rise above the discomfort and take advantage of the numerous opportunities available to you.
How you can make the most of your freshman year:
- Make a LinkedIn and reach out to at least 5 people (Isenberg/UMass alumni tend to respond well) who work at companies you are interested in to ask questions and learn more about their respective careers
- Meet at least one professor in your major to show your interest and initiative early on
- Make sure you have a killer resume. It will make your like ten times easier when you apply for internships down the road – you will already have a strong foundation
- Attend two or more networking events to learn how to best prepare yourself for future interview/networking opportunities