Use Your Winter Break to Find a Summer Internship

Use Your Winter Break to Find a Summer Internship

Since there aren’t many other options, you should use your winter break to find summer internships. Your winter break used to consist of sleeping in, mom’s cooking, seeing friends, your old room, and no homework. Well, depending on where you are, you may have never left home for the fall semester this year. Seeing friends might be only via Facetime. The unknown future due to COVID-19 provides all the more reason to spend your winter break finding summer internships.

The least fun part of being home is dealing with annoying questions from family.

What are you studying again?

What are you going to do with a degree in that?”

Found a job yet?”

“Are you going to graduate school?

via GIPHY

You may or may not have any answers. I don’t care if you have answers for them, I want you to have answers for YOU. If you are a senior, things are getting really real as you buckle down on your job, grad school or post grad internship search. Even if you aren’t graduating in six months, using this winter time wisely can have a big impact on your upcoming summer internships.

Taking the time to do these things below can help you gain confidence on what can happen over the next few months. When little is predictable, you can have confidence that you are taking step to have a productive summer 2021.

Resting and Refocus

Sleep, eat, be a little lazy, exercise, talk a few walks, read a fun book, wrestle with your younger siblings and hug your family. Sometimes just being home can be enough to get you back to balance and your focus right. Resting is required for your physical and mental well-being.

However, don’t spend your entire break in bed or binge watching Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ etc. Get your baby Yoda fix on for sure, but make sure you put in some work too.

In these changing times, you might also start to think more critically about your coures and career choices. What industries have been hit hard and which industires are thriving? After a cold long winter, will summer 2021 internships be availble in your area of interest? While your rest, and declutter your mind, you can think about things more clearly.

Work on Your Resume

If you don’t have a resume, it’s time to make one. Update your resume every semester with new internships, clubs or skills you’ve gained. A resume is a one-page summary of your experience, education, skills, leadership and volunteer activities. Learn the elements of what makes a good resume and how to write a cover letter. These two tools are vital to your internship or job search.

For help, start with the career services office on campus. Even if you are not on campus, check the career services website for basic information, virtual meetings, resume templates and tips on where to begin (or you can download my free resume template). Most career services offices also offer resume reviews or critiques too. You can also check to see if they offer mock interviews. The more you prepare for an interview, the less nervous you will be.

Informational Interviews

I am a big fan of informational interviews. An informational interview is an interview you conduct with a professional in the career field you want to pursue. It is the perfect opportunity to learn about what it takes to succeed in an industry, challenges you could face, what the day-to-day life is like in that career and network.

Attempting to contact the CEO of a Fortune 500 company will probably not get you any results. This is where you start with your local network (parent’s jobs, neighbors, church members, fraternity or sorority members etc.) and then move onto using school resources to tap into the alumni network.

Through networking, you should be able to identify at least one opportunity to sit down or have a brief phone call with someone that can give you insight. Since you likely have no classes, you’ll have the time to find the right person and connect.

Create Your LinkedIn Profile

Use this time off to create your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is an online community for professionals of all levels to connect, network, share and learn. Many companies, large and small post jobs and internships through LinkedIn. They also use it to locate and connect with potential candidates.

Your LinkedIn profile should mirror your resume, however, it provides the opportunity to include additional information. You can write a professional summary, highlight skills, add recommendations, share a portfolio and publish content. The other great thing is that you can find and directly apply for jobs and internships through LinkedIn.

As a current student, you should not feel pressured to have a profile that fills in all the boxes to oversell who you are. Focus your energy on a solid summary and matching the sections of your resume to the online profile.

Get your resume ready, create your LinkedIn profile and start applying ASAP. Don’t miss an opportunity because you missed a deadline. Download my free Internship Manual Tracker with a free resume template to keep yourself on track.

Start Applying

The most useful way to spend this time off is to actually start applying for internships. Many companies are already accepting applications for summer 2021 – for virtual or in person internships. Companies like ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Johnson & Johnson and so many others are already accepting applications for PAID summer internships (including post grad internships) across departments.

Depnding on your career goals, you can also start applying to graduate school programs. Use the break to study for any required standardized tests. If you want an MBA, you are likely going to take the GMAT, liberal arts programs mostly require the GRE, medical school candidates will need to take the MCAT and law school hopefuls will take the LSAT. Your break is the perfect time to take a study course or the test.

Learn the admissions requirements for the programs you want. Looking to become a physical therapist, know what the physical therapy degree admission requirements are well before hand. Think you want an MBA, learn the types of undergrad classes business schools look for. Goal to be a nurse, learn if an RN to BSN is the best option for you. Learning it now will allow you to carefully plan your approach.

Once you get back to school, your summer internship or graduate school search time might be more limited, so take advantage of your open winter schedule. Be smart, get a head of the game and this summer you will be glad that you did. We don’t know what things will look like for sure summer 2021, but give yourself the option. While others might sit back and wait for everything to fall into place, you can choose to take action – even in the midst of a pandemic.

Five Ways to Find an Internship Today!

Five Ways to Find an Internship Today!

Updated December 2020

You want to know how to find an internship. Here are five ways to find an internship today! It’s Always internship season – summer, fall, winter, spring, it doesn’t matter.  Given that things are unpredictable in the season of COVID-19, the good thing as that these tested tips work in or out of a pandemic.
 
These proven strategies helped me find eight internships when I was in college.  Later, as the Senior Manager of a national internship program, these tips helped over 500 students find internships across the country. There are obviously more than five ways to find an internship, but these serve as a starting point for you today.
 
Even in this time of social distancing, you can still pursue many of these methods for finding an internship. Zoom calls,  phone calls and emails are all valid ways of communicating. Colleges that have moved online are still offering virtual career services appointments to help students navigate this challenging time.

 

1) Ask Around

Approach your college professors, department heads and administrators and let them know what type of internships you are looking for. They may have professional contacts that they can connect you with in the industry you are exploring.
 
I landed one of my best internships through one of my communications professors who connected me to the right person. I got an on campus internship using the same tactic of just asking and letting the right people know what type of opportunity I was looking for. Go beyond the college community and ask your friends parents, mentors and other professionals you know too. This is also your first attempt at learning to network! 
The Internship Manual

TAKE ACTION: Make a list of at least 10 people (professors, parents, friend’s parents, mentors etc.) you know that you want to approach in helping you find an internship. Develop a short script explaining what type of opportunity you are looking for and how they can help you. Getting comfortable talking to others and sharing your goals will come in handy later as you start to build your networking skills.

Bonus Tip: It’s time to join LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social network that focuses on professional networking and career development.

 If you need scripts, I include scripts for these and other scenarios in my book, The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams. I also dedicate an entire chapter to the subject of networking because it is that important to your future internship and career success. There are many keys on how to find an internship in the book.

 2) Connect with career services 

Your college career center can be an exceptional resource for finding internships. Career centers have onsite interview days, career fairs, internship postings and a vast array of resources at your disposal. You have access to the all of those tools for free (well, of course you are paying tuition). If you can’t make it to campus, set up a virtual visit with a career advisor.
 
Career fairs offer you the chance to get beyond email and get valuable face time with hiring professionals. Use these opportunities to your advantage, and use your career services center as a part of your internship search team. This fall, career fairs might look a little different as virtual events.
  • Make an Appointment: Schedule a time to sit down with a career counselor/advisor (or virtually) to go over your resume. Discuss your internship goals and create a plan for finding internships each year, and ultimately finding a job. You should work with your counselor to update your plan at the beginning of each semester.
  • Assess Your Skills: Some offices offer the opportunity for students to take skills assessment tests. If you are still trying to figure out your major and need some career direction, sign up to take a skills assessment and learn what careers you might be best suited for.

3) Don’t Ignore Small Businesses and Non-Profits

Meaningful and amazing internship experiences don’t have to come from companies with 5,000+ employees.  In a previous post, Not Everyone Can Intern at Google, I wrote about why you should look at small companies for internships. There are so many smaller companies with under 500 employees who gladly welcome interns into their operations. Size alone doesn’t dictate the quality and opportunity of an internship experience.
 
Smaller companies and non-profit organizations, can often be a great resume boost and opportunity for that first internship. More competitive internships often require previous internship experience or are reserved for upperclassmen. The challenge currently, is that many small business are closing are can’t afford to pay interns.
 
TAKE ACTIONFind a small local business or non-profit, do your research and then contact them.  Let them know you are a college student looking to do an internship, that you’ve done some research and are very interested in learning how you can intern with their company. 
 
Download a free copy of my Internship Manual Tracker. This tracker keeps you organized on your internship search. You will find an action sheet to keep track of the companies you are applying to,  a calendar so you know what you should be doing no matter the time of year.
 
 
 

 

When I was in college, I completed eight internships, some with big companies and some with small. No matter where the internship opportunity is, you have the ability to learn, observe, ask questions, and contribute to a company or organization. If you embrace the opportunity you can come away with what you realize later was your dream internship. 

 4) Do online searches

There are many job boards where companies post their available internships. Start with the sites listed belo that focus on internships.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the online search options. As you compile your list of companies that you are interested in interning for, visit their websites as well.

Follow the top companies you are interested in on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instragram, Twitter and any other social media they use. Create a LinkedIn profile today if you don’t’ have one already.

5. Apply to Divesrity Internship Recruitment Programs

Internship recruitment programs often require a competitive application process to gain admission. The process is worth it considering that the majority of these experiences provide paid internships and connect you directly to major companies or government agencies. Once a part of a program you generally have the additional advantage of support before, during and after your internship experience. You become a part of a large network that extends beyond your college network. Subscribe to my Diversity Internship Directory to see a comprehensive listing of diverse internship opportunities. There are others program like the Washington Center Internship program as well.

Get started on finding your dream internship and becoming a superstar intern, right now!


 

Finding Summer 2021 Internships Post COVID-19

Finding Summer 2021 Internships Post COVID-19

Finding summer 2021 internships, even if COVID-19 is still around is something you should start today! Trying to predict, chart or plan anything more than a week in advance seems pointless in 2020, but trust me.

As we see positivity rates go up and down and lock downs are happening on a regular basis, it sucks. On the other side, there are vaccines on the horizon that could change the game this summer. Don’ get caught unprepared if things do turn around!

So, although no one wants to spend summer 2021 on lock down, companies are preparing for remote and/or onsite internships. Since they are looking to hire, you should be looking for an opportunity – now.

The Good News

The good news: companies just went through this last summer. Look, summer 2020 was a dumpster fire and everyone was just trying to survive. Companies scrambled to adapt and convert onsite internships into virtual and remote experiences. Six months later, they’ve been able to step back, evaluate and hopefully improve on their remote internships.

The other good news is that remote internships have opened up more opportunities for you! Gone will be the barriers of housing and travel. Many major brands and companies are located in big cities. Previously, that meant spending your internship pay check on housing and food. Other times, it meant not even applying to an internship because you couldn’t afford it. Right now, major brands and companies like VIACOMCBS  and NBCUniversal are looking for fill valuable paid remote and virtual internships! 

The internship world has opened up in ways like never before, at least for the short-term. For now, let’s take advantage of this season of COVID that has evened the playing field. So, if you don’t have deep pockets or responsibilities keeping you close to home, it’s time to shoot your shot.

person using macbook pro on table
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Summer 2021 Internship Search Process

The summer 2021 internship search process itself hasn’t changed much. Every year, students search for internships and do the whole process over the phone and online. So, the summer 2021 internships search process definitely won’t be changing much this year.

Sites like indeed.com, internships.com, LinkedIn, idealist.org, Handshake and internfromhome.com are still the first stop for many students.  Daily or weekly, search these sites using keywords like virtual, online, remote, or work from home. You will get many more results than in years past. Also, check to see if your college uses Handshake. Using Handshake will make applying to internships quick, and gives you access to virtual recruitment events.

My Diversity Internship Directory is a free comprehensive listing of internship opportunities specifically for Black, Latino and other traditionally underrepresented college students. 

Tools for Your Internship Search

Before you dive head first into things, get the tools for your search ready. Schedule an appointment with your university career services office (probably virtual). Learn about any virtual career fairs, recruitment events, alumni hosted interview days and other resources they provide. Put your tuition dollars to work! Also, career services should be your first stop for getting your resume and cover letter together.

Once you are resume ready, set up your LinkedIn profile and get to work. Don’t forget to create a targeted list of companies and when possible, apply directly to them rather than through job boards. Target companies are teh top companies you plan to research and apply to. Follow those same companies on Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets. A lot of companies use social media to post about internships, application deadlines and sometimes the offer behind the the scenes internship info.

Network, Network, Network

networking

Networking can really help your internship search. Networking could be the key for you finding an internship or job in the future. It is less intimidating when you understand what networking it is all about. Networking is not about attending an event and collecting all the business cards that you can. Networking is about creating relationships and developing real connections. Start with your existing network that is probably bigger than you think. Your network could include:

  • friends
  • high school teachers
  • professors
  • your parents friends
  • your friends parents
  • church members
  • fraternity or sorority members
  • professional organization members
  • coaches
  • mentors

Let them know how things are going, what you are studying, how have you spent your time in 2020, are you in class or remote learning, your future aspirations and the type of internship you are looking for. Even if they don’t have an internship, they will keep you in mind for an opportunity that they may hear about. It’s like having an army of job seekers on the lookout for you. You can also network via LinkedIn.

Keep an eye out and keep your ears open. 

The Bad News

The bad news is that there just might be fewer summer 2021 internships around. Small businesses are the life blood of the economy. There is an estimate that as many as 60% of small businesses will close their doors this year and not reopen. Certain industries have been decimated like hospitality and travel. As a result, some smaller, great, local internships will no longer be available. For some companies whose doors have remained open, paying additional staff for summer 2021 internships is not on the table.

The result, there will likely be fewer internships available and the competition for those few openings will be tougher. To stand out, you will need to have your stuff together. The other likely situation, after years of making strides on the need for internships to be paid, we might see a resurgence of unpaid internships

Technically Speaking

As you navigate through this process, there are some things that have obviously changed. Remote internships remove the housing and travel barrier, but it also can create barriers for students who fail to demonstrate certain skills. You need at least basic technical skills to work from home.

Remote internships mostly require reliable internet access, assigned times to be online, and can be less interactive and more project based placements. Working from home will still require a quiet place, much like your need for space to study.

New Indsutries, New Opportunities

Think about the new opportunities and the industries that are thriving.  Opportunities in social media, marketing, coding, web design, front end and back end development, information technology, research and the list goes on. We’ve seen companies like Zoom explode as an online meeting platform, online gaming is at a high, online teaching platforms, cloud computing, e-commerce, home entertainment, manufacturing and biotechnology. 

Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to investigate and discover industries and positions you have’t thought of before. If you can’t fit in a technical class next semester, there are plenty of free online classes to learn new skills from places like Coursera. 

A Different Kind of Process

While the initial search and interview process itself may have not changed much, the interview questions and concerns have. You should ask questions about the internship structure, work hours, how often you will participate in meetings and how they will make interns feel included on the team. Will you be working with other interns? How often will you meet with your manager?

Online internships offer the convenience of staying home, but present the challenge of connecting with others. The better internship programs will work hard to ensure that interns can feel as part of the team as possible. 

With the fluid nature of life in the next 6-12 months, it will be important to know if or how things could change. If life is closer to normal this summer, could the internship go from remote to onsite? If you are asked to be onsite, what are the rules for social distancing? Make sure you ask when decisions on the in-person vs remote internships will be made. These are not questions anyone would have asked a year ago, but they are part of our reality for the moment. 

If you get an internship, make sure you stay in contact with human resources and your immediate manager for any news. 

Finding summer 2021 internships doesn’t have to be daunting or difficult. If you start searching now, get your resume in order, practice interviewing and do your research, you will have better results. Stay focused and take action!

Download my Internship Tracker with a free resume template to stay organized and maximize every moment of this process!

How Diverse is Your Internship Program?

How Diverse is Your Internship Program?

When was the last time you hired a Black intern? If your company or organization has had an internship program for any period of time, and you can’t recall the last time you had a Black or Latinx intern, that is a problem. Just how diverse is your internship program?

After leading a team that placed 400+ diverse interns at major companies across the United States, I know what it looks like when companies invest the energy, resources and the money to expand and attract a more diverse intern pool. When a company or organization decides that they want change, they will take action to get the desired results.

It is time to step out of your comfort zone and find ways to connect with the wealth of talent within communities that have historically been overlooked. Hiring one Black or Brown intern out of many isn’t the solution. Your aim should be to create a company or even department that reflects the colorful, diverse world we live in.

If your internship class pictures look like the ones on the left, you got work to do.

Hiring the same interns yields the same type of full-time staff

Students who complete internships are more likely to get job offers. Frequently companies turn to their previous or current intern pools to fill open positions. Internships have essentially become eight-week job interviews. If the intern pool you turn to is 99% white, then you are going to keep having trouble trying to diversify your full-time staff. 

According to the NACE 2019 Internship & Co-op Survey Report 56.1 percent of interns in the Class of 2018 were offered full-time positions.  If you keep going back to the same pool of candidates, you won’t see a change.

YEAROFFER RATEACCEPTANCE RATECONVERSION RATE
201970.4%79.6%56.1%
201859.0%77.3%45.6%
201767.1%76.4%51.3%
201672.7%85.2%61.9%
201558.9%87.8%51.7%
Source: 2019 Internship & Co-op Survey Report, National Association of Colleges and Employers

Your internship program isn’t just about growing your staff. These program increase your overall productivity by bringing in students who can make meaningful contributions. You can expose your staff to new perspectives, learn the new treands of Generation Z, and showcase yourself as a leader in your community who fosters growth in the overall workforce.

Check out Five Reasons to Start an Internship Program Now or if you are ready to move forward learn the 10 steps to launching a successful internship program.

Start at the Top

The road to diversity must be traveled from multiple directions. From the top, with an increase in Black executives in the c-suite and on down to the hiring of interns who can work their way up. Hiring interns and assisting them in their professional growth benefits a company in so many ways. When you bring in people from different backgrounds and cultures, they bring with them diverse prospectives that can enhance your bottom line.

When you invest in their growth, interns can flourish into leaders than can contribute massively to your company or even an entire industry.

Successful Interns

  • Oprah Winfrey started as an intern at WLAC-TV, a CBS affiliate in Nashville, TN. The station hired her as a full-time anchor-reporter. She became the first African-American female news anchor.
  •  Rosalyn Duran spent a summer as an affliate sales intern with ESPN. She was hired right after graduation. She is currently serving as Senior VP of Operations, Disney Springs, ESPN Wide World of Sports and Water Parks for the Walt Disney World Resort. Prior to her recent role, she was Senior VP, College Networks.
Ursula Burns
  • Ursula Burns, former Xerox CEO, and the first African-American woman to lead an S&P 500 company. Her career with Xerox started as a mechanical engineering intern
  • Brandon Thompson began his career in 2003 as an intern at Nashville Superspeedway, a role he applied for through the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program. Recently promoted from Managing Director of the NASCAR Touring Series he is now Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion.

The reality is, most companies and organizations look in the same places over and over again to fill their openings. Sadly, there are fewer women and Black CEO’s now then when Ursula left Xerox in 2016. There are currently only four black CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies – and they are all men. The issues, from top to bottom run deep, and the solutions must be from all levels too.

Expand Your Circle 

Let’s not forget that many roles never even get posted. In reality, networking is how a lot of people go from intern to employee, company to company, promotion to promotion.

Typical conversations go like this: “I have a role, you know anyone that can XYZ, or might be interested in 123?”

You look through your contacts, think about the people you know and make the connection. Well, when you have a more diverse network, you will also get more diverse referrals. Get to know more Black people in your field. You can do that at professional conferences, trade shows, and through LinkedIn.

As your circle expands and you begin to ask a wider cross section of people “if they know anyone” for internships or job openings, you’ll see the demographic change in the people you find.

Creative On Campus Recruitment

Do you visit any Historically Black College or Universities (HBCU) as a part of your on campus recruitment strategy?  “Today, there are 107 HBCUs with more than 228,000 students enrolled” (source). That is a lot of talent waiting to be tapped. 

Fun Fact: HBCU’s graduate 40% of all STEM degrees and produce 24% of all Black college graduates.

If you can’t make the trip to your nearest HBCU, you can always call and connect with the career services department or even an academic department to send out an email announcement for you, coordinate an online recruitment event or solicit resumes.

Outside of recruiting at an HBCU, you can also of course find Black and Brown students at all colleges across the country. Start by reaching out to the minority groups on campus. There are usually a number of groups that support minority students on campus like the Black Student Union, ALANA (African, Latino, Asian and Native American) groups, and Black fraternities and sororities.

Lastly, connect with professionals in on-campus and community organizations. When you need writers, check with the local National Association of Black Journalists in your community and at the local college campus. For your next engineering internship, post the position with the National Society of Black Engineers and reach out to the campus group. Do the work, do the outreach.

Partner with Professional Organizations

As I mentioned, I worked for a non-profit organization that connects talented minority students to companies for internships and entry to mid-level hires. The following is a list of non-profit organizations that work with company partners who want to increase diversity. These organizations touch a variety of industries.

If your industry isn’t covered, you can also check with local organizations to see what type of partnership you can create on your own. Be prepared, all of these organizations expect you to PAY your interns, rightfully so.

There are also many companies that have created their own internal diversity programs as well. You can check out my list of Diversity Internship Programs by company to see what others are doing. Companies like Google have the Google BOLD program or the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program. Your company or department maybe smaller, but you can still come away with ideas.

Leading Your Team

When you make the decision that you want to see change in your intern diversity, then you should share that with your team. Let them know that you are committed to creating opportunities, opening your eyes to finding talent in new places and about your desire to enhance your company or department by bringing in voices with different points of view.

This isn’t about checking a diversity box, it is about a commitment to a cultural shift.

We don’t want these opportunities because we are Black, we deserve them because we are qualified and ready.

Also, do not hire a Black intern then bring them into a toxic and hostile environment. Check your environment. Check your culture. Check the level of racism. Check the microaggressions (everyday, subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups).

If your environment is toxic and you don’t need an intern, you need a culture check. If #BlackLivesMatter makes people uncomfortable, you have work to do.

You might figure out that you need some diversity training and some tough conversations. You are not asking your team to get on board with “just” hiring Black interns, you are asking them to get on board with diversity, equality, openness, inclusion and change. Everything won’t be perfect, no one expects utopia tomorrow, but you lead by example. Take the time and responsibility to educate yourself, create and provide resources and educate others along the way.

Promote the Black people who keep getting overlooked. Hire talented Black interns who will impact your company or organization. At the same time, hire Black people for those permanent roles you have been trying to fill. Look for Black vendors when you have work to be done. We don’t want these opportunities because we are Black, we deserve them because we are more than qualified and ready.

It’s Not Just Fall, It’s Internship Search Season

It’s Not Just Fall, It’s Internship Search Season

I know that the calendar just switched to fall, but it’s also internship search season! I know, the idea of searching for a summer internship when we haven’t even seen the first snowflake seems premature. However, I assure you that the time is now to get moving on your summer internship search.

Generally speaking, only the most competitive internships have deadlines in September – December. If you are chasing after a gig at certain Fortune 500 companies, working on Wall Street, consulting for McKinsey or have spy dreams of working for the Central Intelligence Agency, you need to get moving now for those super competitive opportunities.

Actually, you might be too late for the CIA since you have to apply 12 months in advance (they do have other positions with later deadlines though). The FBI’s internship program is already closed until next summer too and the National Basketball Association internship program closes on October 3rd. 

The world won’t end if you wait until January to start your internship search. Starting now does open up a whole world of additional opportunities.

Fall is for Recruitment

As a recruiter, the fall is when I used to rack up a ton of travel miles heading from college to college across the country. I attended college fairs, presented to student groups and occasionally met with department chairs.

When I was a student, I landed a few internships and a full-time job offer as a result of attending my college’s career fair. They can be valuable for the purposes of 1) getting to meet an actual person that works for the company 2) making a good impression that can lead to an interview and 3) learning about new companies and opportuinites that you haven’t thought about before.

On the other side, I was looking to meet students that would be a good fit for my program. I loved introducing the program to students who didn’t know about it. I was impressed by the young people who’d already done their research and came prepared with questions.

If your university will be hosting a Career or Graduate School fair, make it your business to be there. And, be dressed to impress. I have five steps for success at a career fair that serve as good starting point for you. I can tell you after nearly 20 years of recruitment, a smile and firm handshake can go a long way.

Diversity Internship Programs

Plenty of other types of internship opportunities will come along later this year and early spring. Many of the highest paying internship programs are already accepting applicants.

Wonderful opportunities come to those who choose to participate in diversity internship programs. Programs like the T. Howard Foundation, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and INROADS are constantly working to introduce and advance minority representation in the worlds of business, media, sports, engineering, investment banking, finance, law and other spaces.

The applications for these PAID internship programs generally due early. The first deadline for the T. howard Foundation is October 1st and the final deadline December 1st. T. Howard Foundation places students in internships with companies like HBO, ESPN, CBS Corporation, Facebook, Viacom, Univision and so many others. Check out my list for detailed informtaion on over

In addition to helping you land an internship with a major company, these organizations provide a support network that can open doors for you for years to come, scholarships and job connections.

Many companies may not participate with diversity organizations, but they often have their own internships targeted at increasing diversity. Check out my ongoing list of companies looking to recruit diverse interns.

What You Need to Do Next

The first thing you need to do is get your resume in order. Start with your career services office on campus. Your resume is only one piece of the puzzle but very important. Getting your resume in order forces you to think about the experiences you’ve had, skills you possess as well as skills that you lack, but it should also make you think about the types of experiences you want to gain.

With your complete resume, it will be easy to move foward and create a LinkedIn profile. After you get your resume together, you need to get organized. My free Internship Manual Toolkit can keep you on task and focused on your next move. As a bonus, the Toolkit includes a free resume template.

Take the internship search process seriously and learn to be an expert. If you can become effective at a great internship search, you will be a pro at executing an effective job search.

Pause and Evaluate Your Internship Experience

Pause and Evaluate Your Internship Experience

As your internship ends, it is important to pause and evaluate your internship experience. I don’t mean just the evaluation your internship site asked you to do, but asking yourself important questions about your experience.

Every internship experience is filled with positives and negatives. Over the course of 8-12 weeks, you’ve gained new hard and soft skills to add to your resume. What I want you to pause and ponder about, are the intangibles that are not going to be listed on your resume.

Overcoming Challenges

What was the biggest challenge during your internship and how did you overcome it? Did you work on a difficult project, deal with with a co-worker you didn’t really like, or have a supervisor who didn’t seem to have enough time for you. What did you do? What would you have done differently? How would you handle that situation if it were your first real job out of college and not a short term internship?

Your personal evaluation is about moving beyond the surface, beyond the impressive PowerPoint presentation you made, to understanding how your life was impacted. The learning experiences outside of the classroom that prepare you for the real world workplace challenges.

Maybe your challenege wasn’t necessarily at your internship site. Perhaps you did an internship in a different city and your biggest challenge was transportation. I remember juggling an unpaid internship with two part-time jobs one summer. Even if the challenge was external, how will you approach your next internship or full-time job differently because of what you overcame?

Are You Still Excited About Your Major

Did your internship get you more or less excited about your major? Did you come away with a deeper interest or run away dazed and confused?

It’s one thing to learn skills in a classroom and another to actually apply them. Is what you are learning in school matching the work place?

Are there new classes that you want to add to your schedule now that you were exposed to something different?

Was your experience so bad that you think you want to change your major?

If you are having second thoughts about your career choice, don’t throw in the towel just yet. Give it one more chance. It could have been that the organization or company was too big (or small), the department was poorly ran, or they misrepresented what the internship was really about.

Let’s say that you are a finance major and ended up doing a lot of writing for your internship. You discovered that you loved writing more than working with numbers. No need to necessarily become a journalism major. Instead, look for elective courses in writing and/or journalism, and consider a minor if it works. In addition, you can join the school newspaper as contributor to the financal section to start earning bylines. You could also decide to start you own financial blog. Get creative with looking for ways to try out different interests.

Reality is the career you have been dreaming about just might not be that exciting. Give it another shot, but in a different work environment.

Testing the Waters

Part of the great thing about internships is testing the waters in different work environments. I did eight internships between undergrad and grad school. My experience as a public affairs intern for a large nuclear power plant was vastly different than my marketing internship for a private medical advisory firm. Both were places I may not have applied to work post college, but proved to be super interesting internship learning opportunities.

In addition to different types of work spaces, I tried out different fields. Although I was a public relations major, I did internships in public relations, writing, sales and marketing. I stretched and challenged myself beyond the familiar. I also wanted to be able to cast a wide net when it came time to look for a job.

If you think you want to dip your toes into another area, use your next internship to break out of the box and learn something different. Test your social media skills, learn to code, take a sales internship. Jump into something new and it could turn out to be your hidden passion.

Self-Evaluation

Very quickly in my internship life I realized I hated being stuck at a desk all day. I needed variety and movement in whatever path I chose. As a result, when I started applying for jobs before graduation, I looked for jobs that would offer variety. I knew what type of work environment would allow me to thrive and what would be depressing. When I started my career in college admissions, I traveled domestically about 30-40% of the year.

The people I met also left impressions on me, good and bad. Some of my internship supervisors became mentors that I am still in contact with today. If you are still on the countdown to your last day, end your internship with a bang. It is important to keep the connections you’ve made going. Some of the people you met can also help you evaluate what you just experienced.

It is totally okay if the internship experience wasn’t all that you thought it would be. My multiple internships were all different, some better than others. All left an impression on me personally and academically and influenced my career goals.

My internships, my nearly 20 year career in higher education, time spent managing a non-profit internship program all led me to starting this blog and writing a book about my internship experiences. I would have never even considered higher education as a career option if I hadn’t interned in my college’s public affairs office for two years. You never know in the moment, the future impact your internship may have on your life. Keep an open mind, and keep going on to the next opportunity!