When I tell you I was stressed, I. Was. Stressed. My senior year and I couldn’t find a college internship and I didn’t know where to go or what to do to get help. I had been turned down, I wasn’t receiving replies. With a little time and effort, I was able to finally receive a couple offers, and that is how I ended up here writing to all of you. I know everything happens for a reason, but if I could have smoothed out that process, I would have. So here is what I learned about finding a college internship, along with the best resources and advice I can offer:
1. Consider your region
Before you get too far in choosing places to apply, decide where you want to complete your college internship. Do you want to go out-of-state or stay in-state? Some careers do thrive better and are more opportunistic in other areas, so it is worth considering if there could be opportunities in other areas. For example, a career in writing, editing, and publishing are popular in New York, providing for more internships and opportunities. However, I am in a situation where I am unable to be away from school or pay for travel, so I chose to stay closer and consider the opportunities surrounding FSU and online.
2. Can it be done at FSU?
Out of convenience, FSU does offer many opportunities for students to find a college internship on campus so that they can better balance the internship with classes. The Career Center offers aid in looking for an internship by encouraging you to create a Handshake account (similar to a LinkedIn profile), which can help you find internship opportunities being posted in your area. They provide thorough feedback and tell you what information to provide on your Handshake and what would help you stand out among other applicants. Not to mention, they offer practice interviews and Résumé Cafés for editing your hard-copy résumé as well (this will be discussed further down). FSU provides plenty of tools to encourage your success in your college internship, considering it is a requirement for some majors in order to graduate (including providing the internships themselves). Plus, the supervisors of these FSU-based internships are more understanding of your schedule with school and can work with you. Try asking your advisor and looking for internships through your major or your specific college. I found my internship through my weekly newsletter sent out by my advisor. They know which internships have been done by students before, and what the reviews have been about them. It is good to have that information instead of going in blind to an internship no one you know has worked with before.
3. Can it be done online?
In some cases, if your schedule is full, you work part-time (or full-time), and maybe have other complications, online could be the perfect solution. These types of internships are operated through phone calls, Facetime, and other forms of communication, which can allow a student to intern for a company out of the area. For example, I am an FSU student interning for Society19 as a writer; however, Society19’s headquarters is located in Massachusetts. One point to consider here, while convenient, remote internships do require a lot of discipline. You may not have someone over your shoulder teaching you and watching your every move, but you are expected to meet your deadlines; if procrastination is your thing, this may not be the right choice for you.
4. Refer to the list
FSU provides students with an extensive list that is broken down by major. This list contains all known organizations and companies that they have seen students of FSU intern with in the past. In addition to this, they provide the tasks you will be doing as an intern, what is required of you, how to apply, and when (with affiliate links). Just another reason FSU is so great! They always have your back. There are different lists depending on the college and major you are in, so I suggest asking your advisor for the link or list.
5. Edit resume
Now that you have picked your area and the format in which you will be completing your college internship, begin readying your resume for companies to look at. Specifically, pay attention to how a company may view this in association with their own. Are you showcasing anything in particular that shows you are a hard-worker, a good leader, and have past experience in an on-campus organization or part-time job? Work to target your resume towards them and what they stand for, as well as your experience in the major. If you are unsure of how to better your resume, there are several Résumé Cafés throughout the semester for you to attend. Or you can go straight to the Career Center on-campus and ask for help–this is one of their specializations. For more information about the Career Center, follow this link: https://career.fsu.edu/about-us
6. Practice interviews
Is it just me or are interviews really intimidating? If you don’t agree, please give me tips, because no matter how many I have done, I still get a queasy feeling in my stomach, a shaky voice, and forget what I want to say. Through practicing interviews, and several breathing techniques, I have managed to keep myself mostly collected, at least enough so that I can get through the questions with a clear head. I have practiced by rehearsing possible questions and responses in the mirror with myself. I know it sounds weird but it increased my confidence a great deal when I first started college. When that didn’t work, I gave the questions to my roommates and asked them to work with me. However, there are experts on campus who can better assist you in practicing at the Career Center. They do practice interview questions any time you need, just pop in; might as well get your résumé done too.
7. Apply to several
Alright, I know the phrase is overused, but seriously–don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. If there was a better way to say this I would. The point is that, for many of us, this is a requirement for us to graduate just as much as it is a learning experience. If it is the last semester of your senior year and you only applied to one, I am slightly concerned because none of these are guaranteed. We all have that internship that is at the top of our list, that we will accept no matter what. Although, this is much like the college application process–you apply to many. Make a list of the ones you want the most to the least, and then work your way through the list once you receive their decisions. It is much too risky to hope that you will get the one you want.
8. Educate yourself on the college internships you are applying for
For yourself and the company, it is beneficial to do your research. Some companies ask you to be familiar with their work and past projects so that you can be more equipped when it comes to the job you will be doing. For others, it may look better to flatter them in an interview by demonstrating that you are well-versed in the topic and that you have knowledge of them. Not to mention, for example, if I am working for a publishing company and I dislike all of their work, I probably am going to be very miserable working for them, and they could better benefit from an intern who is actually interested in their work.
9. Narrow down
Once you have applied and received all of your responses, it is best to go through with a list of pros and cons to choosing the one college internship best suited for you. Which one will provide the most experience? What kind of job will you be doing? How much will you be working? How far is it? Questions like these will help you decide the pros and cons of each and hopefully get you the internship that is best for you. In my experience, I knew Society19 was the best choice because it is done remotely, as I could do it throughout the week when it was convenient for me. Plus, I have a part-time job and I need flexibility. Not to mention, I get to write about the topics that interest me for all of you. What’s not to love?
10. Receiving credit
When you are receiving credit for this college internship, another very important matter to consider is if it will be possible for you to receive credit. For example, as an editing, writing, and media major we are required to write approximately 2000 words per credit hour and work 4 hours per credit hour. Say I was offered a position to intern and operate a social media page. This could definitely work, however, you have to be able to figure out how you will write about 6000 words on a social media page. It isn’t impossible but it is something to consider when choosing.