Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

The Search for a First Year Internship

Finding a good internship can be difficult, especially as a freshman. Personal connections can be the most powerful and effective method. In order to attain my internship, I went to my uncle as well as some family friends who work in business related fields. I asked them if they knew of any companies who hire interns, and if they would introduce me to their contacts. After an introduction email was sent by my connection, I sent a follow-up email containing a small blurb about my accomplishments and a resume.  If I did not hear anything back, I called. People are busy. It does not always mean the company is not interested in you if they do not email back right away. It also shows initiative to actively pursue an opportunity. Companies like initiative.

A lot of start-ups have great internship opportunities. This is because they do not necessarily have the resources to hire tons of full-time employees. I focused my internship hunting on start-ups in the field I am interested, marketing. In smaller companies, interns are also given more responsibility. If a company only has eight employees, chances are an intern will get the opportunity to experience a lot more than ordering coffees at Dunkin Donuts.

The interview is an extremely important part of the hiring process. It can be hard to illustrate how great you could be for a company without feeling like you are bragging. The best advice I can give is not to be nervous and to be you. Employers are not only looking for people who are smart, but people they are willing to work with. Therefore, showing a little personality can be a good thing. Confidence is also a key to looking competent; therefore, you should make eye contact with your interviewer. You should also discuss past experience that you are actually passionate about, being excited about what you have done helps to make the employer excited as well.

For my particular internship, I was initially turned down. I had a phone interview which went great, but the writing sample I sent in was not up to the companies’ standards. I was very disappointed, but I figured my writing could only improve over the years. Therefore, I was not discouraged. I chose to take it as constructive criticism. I decided to send a follow up email thanking the possible employer for their time and for helping me better understand my strengths and weaknesses. This follow up email is what impressed my current employer. They decided they wanted to look at another writing sample. I sent in a more current piece, and the company saw an improvement. I got the job because I followed the simple rule of saying thank you. It is important not to burn any bridges while looking for an internship. Even if a company is not yet interested, they could provide future opportunities.