The following was written by Kristen Murphy, a University of St. Thomas Career Counselor.
What are your plans for J-term? Develop your career during January with a short, focused professional experience.
Over the last month I’ve met with many students who are to ready to search and apply for internships. One student was concerned that she didn’t have enough experience in her field to be a competitive applicant. As we talked we decided that she might benefit from a professional experience before applying for a formal internship. She has time during J-Term, so we created a strategy for finding opportunities to build her professional skills, bolster her resume, and expand her network during this time.
Internships for J-term may not be advertised due to the short work period, so plan on spending time contacting organizations you are interested in to inquire about opportunities. Talk with people at the organization and let them know you have some time in January to assist with a project. If possible, consider lengthening the experience into Spring semester.
Job Shadowing and Informational Interviews
Talk to people. If you know someone who is working in a field or organization of interest to you, get in touch with them and request to either job shadow or conduct an informational interview to learn more about the industry, the specific job, and what you can be doing now to increase your chances of being hired later.
Aside from the benefit of having an opportunity to learn about a field, industry, or specific organization, an internship at any time of year is a wonderful chance to expand your network and learn more about yourself. When the time comes to find your first post-graduation job, you’ll have some experience and contacts to help you reach your goal.