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An Internship Is A Great Way To Get Experience Before You Graduate

How to secure a part-time job or internship

internshipWhether it’s a summer job, an internship or part-time work during the school year, there are some places tailored to students looking for employment. Job boards at career services are logical places to start.  Here are some other ideas:

  • Upload a generic resume to the online Career Services ‘JobLink’ — Most universities and colleges will have an online program that allows students to upload a resume into a ‘Resume Book’.  This is used by employers who recruit on campus to search by keywords in ‘find’ prospective candidates.  There is a chance an employer could come looking for you through the Resume Book and invite you to interview or apply for a certain job.
  • Search on ‘JobLink’ for positions weekly using keywords— You can go into the online program and tailor the search to the type of job you want (part-time, internship, etc.), area you want to work in (sales, PR, accounting etc.), and city/state you want to look for.  Larger universities will be part of National Association of Collegiate Employers (NACE) and may ‘share’ the national database for jobs.   Don’t narrow your search to just one keyword – if you are interested in sustainability, try searching with other options such as ‘conservation’, ‘green’, and ‘environmental’ to get the widest range of options.
  • Talk to your friends and parents about what type of job you would like — You never know when someone has heard of a position through their personal network that would be a perfect match for you!

After you apply for multiple internship/job openings and you get the phone call that an employer would like to interview you, preparation can make the interview process much less stressful and allow you to focus on explaining the benefits your skills can provide the employer.  Dress for the job that you want, being career and company specific.  Suits are always the safest choice – better to be more than less professionally dressed.  Be sure not to wear anything that you haven’t worn before.  If you have new clothes, wear them around the house a few days before to be completely comfortable in them.  Other things that should be on your ‘to do’ list for a face-to-face interview include:

  • Research the company via internet, personal contacts, employees, and journals.
  • Drive to the location of the interview at least one day prior to determine time needed to arrive.
  • Purchase any extra interview materials days in advance. — This includes resume paper, clothing or accessories, a portfolio with pad of paper, or other materials to use during the interview.
  • Call the interviewer the prior day to confirm time and location. — Email confirmation is fine if you can’t reach the person directly, but a phone call would be the preferred method to confirm.

Collegiates have also grown up in the era of My Space® and Facebook® which has provided them and potential employers access to a wide range of information before interviews start.  Many employers now search for candidates on social media before they phone screen or interview in person.  Use these tips to make sure you are representing yourself well and also using the available information to your advantage:

  • Check your privacy settings frequently and make sure none of your information is viewable unless it would be ok for a grandparent to see it.
  • Have a profile picture that would be appropriate in showing your judgment. — Party pictures are not the first impression you want an employer to have of you, so change the profile picture to one that is more conservative during the job search process.
  • Before an interview, look at the company’s social media pages. — Find information about upcoming events, products, services, or other facts that you could use to answer the question What do you know about our company?”.
  • Set up a LinkedIn profile and start building your connections. — Focus on teachers, co-workers, managers, etc.  This will help you create a network and an online version of your resume.

After going through the checklist to conduct research, preparing materials, wearing your interview clothes in advance, securing your social media sites and knowing where to go and how you are going to get there to be there early for your interview time, what else can you do to be the most prepared for the face-to-face interview?   These steps will separate you from the competition in a face-to-face interview:

  • Make multiple copies (at least 3) of your resume on resume paper. — If you are a candidate that the interviewer feels should move forward in the process, they may have you meet with a colleague or someone in a supervisory role while you are at their office.  By having extra copies of your resume, you are prepared.
  • Have a leather (or similar) portfolio with pen and pad of paper. — Use this to write down the questions you are going to ask at the end of the interview.
  • Don’t carry purses or backpacks into interviews.  Briefcases or professional carriers are appropriate.
  • Bring copies of supporting documentation (presentations etc.) showing specific skills that are relevant to that position for the interviewer.

Think about what types of behavior-based questions you may be asked.  Review the job description – if ‘Excellent communication skills’ is listed as the top qualification, then you can expect that examples of how you effectively communicated with others will be asked in different ways during the interview.  Keeping the interviewer’s attention is much easier if you have practiced in advance and thought about the examples you have to show you are the best candidate for the job.

  • Use varied examples showing your academic, work, and extracurricular experience.
  • Be specific (SMART) in describing examples of your skills and past experiences. (Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Result based, Time bound)
  • Discuss YOUR role in group projects, activities, and programs.  We don’t want to hear about the other people in the group – you are the one we want to possibly hire.

Practicing your answers in advance with a friend or family member will help you to be focused and less nervous when you meet with any interviewer.


About Stacie Garlieb

Stacie Garlieb is the President of Successful Impressions, LLC which assists students and working professionals with career search processes and skills. For more information about the resources her company provides including helpful books and resources to guide you through building your resume and your job search, visit her site.


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