Some tips to keep in mind as you anticipate an internship experience:
- Establish goals for the experience: personal, skills, and career knowledge
- Learn the company culture and dress and behave accordingly.
- Be on time. Being late is inconsiderate. If it is unavoidable, contact your supervisor.
- Carry a notepad and pen with you at all times. Write down instructions and questions.
- Before asking questions, think through a possible solution, then when presenting your questions, explain your thinking process and where you got stuck.
- Communicate – let your supervisor know where you are in your tasks, when they are complete.
- Always proofread anything you are to submit.
- Ask ‘Why?’ and be observant of both people and methods. An employee is valuable not only for the work he/she can perform, but also for knowing why things are done in certain ways.
- Reach out – ask people to have lunch with you; seek ways to learn what people around you do.
- Do not make/receive personal phone calls, texts or conduct personal internet searches on company time – no matter how bored you are. This is a fast way to ruin the respect people have for you.
- Ask for More – When you are ready for more challenging tasks, or if you don’t have enough work to keep you busy, tell your supervisor.
- Track accomplishments – keep a log of projects you’ve worked on and skills you’ve developed; ask if you can distribute later, examples of your work (LinkedIn, job interview portfolio).
- Reflect – how does the environment feel to you? Do you enjoy the people, work, culture? If not, think about what you want to do in your next internship!
- Ending – have an exit interview with your supervisor, leave a Thank you note, ask about future opportunities there, ask for job references, and stay in touch!
On April 6, the Career Development Center hosted a panel of alumni, employers and professionals. They were asked to come to campus to talk to students about their career paths. Representing many different career fields and industries, they revealed a variety of career options for students with science degrees. I took notes as I asked them to share their best advice for college students and realized that what they had to say did not just apply to science-related majors, but ALL students. So, I am sharing their bits of wisdom!
- Utilize personal/family connections, and faculty office hours – ask for their advice/information
- Investigate multiple professions/careers
- Informational interviews – conduct as many as possible
- Read job descriptions – what is interesting? Bring that information in to informational interviews
- Keep track of everything you are doing in classes – projects, lab techniques, research, computer programs used
- Get involved in extracurricular activities
- Internships – gain experience
- Pay attention to the transferable skills you are developing
- Join campus-based student clubs that relate to your interests
- Attend Professional Association events and conferences
- There is no wrong initial decision – you have time to do different things along your long career path
The Career Development Center has links to a number of resources to help students explore different careers. See the Career Resources section of the Homepage, www.stthomas.edu/careerdevelopment
If you are like most graduating seniors, you realize that you have to submit many applications to get a few interviews.
During the course of the search process, you hopefully will identify a ‘favorite’ job or employer. The reality is that some employers will make their job offers before others. What if the first offer you receive is not from your favorite?
Well, you need to know the timing of all of the hiring cycles of all of the employers you are dealing with. Remember the OCI Orientation coaching? Don’t leave your last interview without learning their intended time schedule for decisions.
With this information, when you get the first offer from the employer that is not your favorite, you will have what you need to negotiate for more time to make your decision. You can say, “I have not completed all of my interviews, but I should have more information by ______ time/week. Could I give you my response then?”
They will let you know if this is acceptable or if they have a different deadline date. If their deadline does not help you, you have a choice. You can put pressure on the employers you are waiting for, or you can simply make a decision.
The situation you want to avoid is accepting the first or early offer if you really don’t want it. You accept it just because you fear having nothing. The danger is that if a subsequent offer comes in and you accept it, you will have to go back to the first employer and renege (back out). This is really unprofessional. You risk burning a relationship bridge, losing the respect of the other recruiters, and having other employers hear about it. Many of them talk to each other – it really is a small world!
Know that your behavior in this process not only reflects on your personal integrity and ethics, but also on your academic department and this university. Please visit with a career specialist in the Career Development Center if you are having difficulty making decisions. Call 651-962-6761 to make an appointment – we’re here!