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bad internship
Kim Figueroa
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Published on May 15, 2014

You’ve done everything right in the internship search this academic year.

  • Met with a career advisor and had your resume, cover letters and LinkedIn profile reviewed
  • Developed an internship search database using Excel or some other organizational tool
  • Applied to multiple opportunities across a number of industries, firms, and non profits
  • Prepared, practiced for and participated in interviews
  • Waited, anxiously. Followed up and thanked people along the way. Kept your “network” in the loop.

Still, nothing.

Ok, you’re disappointed, of course. You’ve decided your job as a lifeguard, camp counselor, bank teller, etc. is where you’ll be.

You’ll make the most of it.  That’s ok.

Believe it or not, you have a LOT you can leverage to make this a productive, professionally focused summer. Here are some things to keep in mind:

A Summer Job: 

Can you advance your duties if returning to a previous position? Ask about how you can take a leadership role or where you can make the biggest impact.

A Network:

Upperclassmen, faculty, career professionals, recruiters you may have met on campus, student leaders you know.

  • Connect with these folks. Go have coffee with them and get to know them. Sure, use LinkedIn for reaching them, but find a way to create face to face opportunities. Create a goal. Maybe you’ll strive for 3 meetings this summer. Maybe 5.

A Database:

Don’t let your internship database get lonely this summer! Spend some time refining it, learning about new companies you’ll approach next year, finding connections to alum at those companies on LinkedIn. Start to get prepared while you have more time on your hands…some employers recruit in the fall for summer internships.

Interview Experience:

Go back and think about how your interview experience went. What could you improve? Give your career center a call. Go in for a “mock interview” if you live close enough…or ask for one on the phone. Research interview skills online.

Research Skills: 

If you just left a year of college, you had to use research skills somewhere! Apply them now to YOU and your career. Learn about an industry. Find career related blogs, books, publications.

Family Functions and Social Gatherings: 

Network. Network. Network.

Pat yourself on the back for the success you’ve had so far! Use some of the time over this summer to advance knowledge, skills, and your network.  Enjoy the time away from campus and leverage all that you can to ensure success during the next internship recruiting cycle.

About the Author:

Kimberly Figueroa is the Director of Internships at the Isenberg School of Management at UMASS – Amherst. When she isn’t advising students, coming up with new ideas for cool classes and career events, or engaging employers, you’ll find her performing as a flutist, cooking up a new recipe or learning a new latin dance step.

Kim Figueroa

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