2023 HBCU Careers Magazine

HBCU Careers Magazine

Start Working Before You Start Working: The Importance of an Internship By Amy Soricelli

There is no question that the competition is fierce for the new graduate, regardless of industry. More than ever before, candidates are competing for the same jobs regardless of experience level or relevance. Unemployment is high, so candidates toss their hats into the ring whether that ring is a fit. What can you do to stand out from the rest? Sure, an impactful resume focusing on your skills, experience, extra-curriculars are hugely important, but does your “junior” resume contain some crucial elements that position you ahead of the pack? Did you have an internship or real-life work experience that can be included in your resume and profile? Do you know how to find one?

To be successful in landing an internship, you must first treat it as a “job search” which, in fact, it is. Begin with narrowing down industry as it pertains to future career relevance; be mindful that this internship will provide you with a compliment to your studies (and very often school credit and/or payment). How do you begin? First, are you a member of professional associations within your industry of choice? If you aren’t, now is the time to join some! Very often, internship and ‘contract’ opportunities are listed in professional organization newsletters; they are eager to include new members to train and develop. Look at the membership applications and join as many as you can – very often, fees are waived for the college student which is a bonus. You can also use internship “finders” which are websites dedicated to internships only – you won’t have to worry that a full-time accountant position is included in the mix. It is easy to set up a profile, complete with alerts, so you can apply to opportunities as they arise. Additionally, these websites provide important information and can open you to a myriad of choices you never knew existed. Are you able to tap into the alumni connections at your college? Very often, alumni are more than willing to hold out a hand for new graduates. Alumni often provide opportunities at their current employers or provide a space for a possible shadowing or mentorship experience. Along with working with your school career counseling center, be sure to go to career fairs and employment events. The recruiters who attend these events are recruiting for all levels of openings in their organizations, and sometimes showing up -resume in hand (not on your phone) might provide you with the chance to sell yourself in person and create an internship where one might not have existed. Are you using social media as a professional networking tool? Now is the time to beef-up your LinkedIn profile with an intentional background and some “internship-focused” buzz words strategically placed throughout. You should be posting articles, updates, asking questions and making yourself known. Be mindful of the rules of proper networking on LinkedIn and send professional notes and messages of interest instead of just hitting “forward profile” to a potential employer. There are many Internship


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