Finding an internship takes work, but it pays off
Mike Queroz, a senior in communication, shares his experiences each week about what it’s like to be a UIC student. Read a new update every weekday from our five “I Am UIC” bloggers.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have three internships. The truth is, finding an internship can be a long and arduous process. It takes tons of research and follow-ups.
However, if you follow my tips, you’re on the right path to landing an internship.
First internship? Search local
My first internship was at the UIC Office of Sustainability. Before the internship, I had no other work experience related to my major.
I figured that it would be the ideal first internship because it was on campus and a great way to begin my career by doing something for my school.
I highly recommend that you apply for something on campus when looking for your first internship. Not only is it convenient, but it also provides you a great connection to UIC.
When looking for an internship, I always spend a lot of time on Google or internship websites.
There are a ton of opportunities out there. Some of my favorite websites are internships.com, entertainmentcareers.com and UIC’s Career Services website, www.uic.edu/depts/ocs
Your college should have an internship advisor, so it would be wise to go in and talk to him or her about opportunities.
Can’t find one? Make a call
If you can’t find an internship, try calling a business you’re interested in and ask the manager if the company is hiring interns.
I have heard from plenty of students who have had luck obtaining an internship simply because they made an effort by calling the business.
Sometimes business aren’t hiring interns but are willing to bring make an exception if you make a good case for why they should.
Once you come across an interesting internship, apply right away.
If you delay, other people will have a better chance of getting the internship.
Revise your cover letter and résumé
Make sure you have your cover letter and résumé revised before submitting them. It is imperative. No employer wants to see tons of misspellings and grammatical mistakes.
The importance of the follow up
You can apply for as many internship as you want, but the hardest part is getting a response. This is why it is extremely important to follow up a week or two after you submit your application.
How? Just send a nice email to the hiring manager asking about the status of your application.
If they do not reply to your follow-up message within a week, send another. Every internship I have received is because I followed up on my application. Take a gulp of courage and try it.
Interview, interview, interview
Make sure you prepare for all interviews. UIC’s Office of Career Services provides great mock interviews, so if you aren’t comfortable with your interviewing skills, get some practice. And make sure you always dress to impress.
Internships are great opportunities to apply everything you’re learning in the classroom into a real-life setting. They also improve your chances of getting a job after graduation.
So what are you waiting for? Get on it!