Easy tips for snagging internships

Audrey Gilliam

A poster advertising internships warns: “10 years ago an internship was a bonus on a resume, and now you are a step behind if you don’t have one.” Prior work experience has become a must in the business world and in other professions as well. Villanova offers many opportunities for internships during the school year and the summer — however, it is important to start planning early.

Deadlines for summer internships can be as early as November. Therefore it is necessary to start the search early. Information about these can be found in the Internship Office in room 451 of the St. Augustine Center and also on the Villanova website at www. villanova.edu/uga/Internships.htm. The Princeton Review also offers an excellent internship guide that gives information about prestigious internships in all 50 states and various European countries. Students who live in Texas, for example, could find internships with the Wall Street Journal, Cadillac or NASA. The Princeton Review also offers a few invaluable tips for snagging great internships:

Fantasize. Think about the careers that ignite your passion, regardless of whether you know of internships in those fields. Advertising? Law? Comic books? Space travel?

Scrap. Research your career possibilities. Consult every possible resource — family connections, college alumni, career centers, classmates, professors and the library. Once you’ve identified companies, call and ask for an internship application.

Don’t procrastinate. Check deadlines. Early applications increase your chances of securing an internship.

Materialize. Get a range of application materials ready — resume, cover letter, recommendations, transcripts and samples of your work.

Customize. Write a special cover letter for each application. Organizations want to know why you are interested in them. Customize your resume too.

Personalize. If possible, visit the internship sites for an interview or make a personal call to the internship coordinator. Your enthusiasm will show.

Energize. Passion and persistence pay off. Follow up your cover letters with phone calls and your interviews with thank you notes.

It’s never too late. Most organizations offer internships throughout the year. If you’ve missed a deadline, apply now for next year and ask to be considered if something opens up sooner.

Don’t be discouraged by your age: internships are available for high school, college and grad students as well as recent graduates — even career changers.

Although this may initially seem like a lot of work, the internship that you land can help you to advance your career, and can also be a fun experience.

Sophomore Mike McEvoy, who interned at the State House in Massachusetts last summer, had a wonderful internship experience: “It was a great way to get used to seeing how the real job market is, and it is still fun since you are with other kids the same age… and the office parties are fun too.”