Professionally reviewed resumes have the potential to get you an interview for the job or internship you want!
You will never have a second chance to make a first impression with employers and recruiters. This is how a well written, visually pleasing resume can boost your hiring power for employment and internships. Your resume, professionally reviewed by the Career Center, can open many doors in the working world. Your resume, created by you but not reviewed by a professional resume writer, can stop your internship or job search right in its tracks. Prospective employers use résumés as a screening device: it is a way to filter out any undesirable or unqualified candidates before they spend the time and effort to contact and interview candidates for a position. Many employers frequently are flooded with résumés when they post an opening, and they need a quick and efficient way to determine which of these (sometimes) hundreds of applicants are worth meeting. Your goal is to give yourself the best possible chance of getting past those screeners to the next round of consideration.
Only a professionally reviewed resume gives you that opportunity! Give yourself the best shot at being asked to interview by using the Resume Book link below to create your resume. Visit the Career Center to have it reviewed and you will be on your way to career success!
What is an Internship
An internship is a work experience related to a student’s major or intended career. Internships take place on-site or virtually at approved corporate and nonprofit work sites where students have the opportunity to learn from professionals in the field while engaging in hands-on work-related activities. In the past, internships were considered optional learning experiences as part of a college education. Today, however, internships are at the center of your employment search and can potentially boost your hiring power for employment placement. Students who have no internship experience on their resumes are at a distinct disadvantage when entering the job market.
Types of Internships (On-site, Hybrid, or Virtual)
- For Credit – Many internships are built into your academic program, providing credit toward graduation. Some companies stipulate that they only provide internships for credit. If you hope to receive college credit for your internship, you must first get approval from the relevant academic department, and then register for the internship (as with a regular class), using the department’s internship registration code.
- Paid – A paid internship is similar to part-time employment. Salary is determined by the employer and may exceed the standard minimum wage. Some organizations prefer to pay interns a stipend, which is a small reimbursement upon completion of the internship. Some organizations also will pay periodically for the costs of transportation or meals.
- Unpaid – Some firms provide an opportunity to intern without offering any money or credit to the student. You should not look at this as doing something for nothing. As you will see below, the contacts and skills you develop and the experience you will receive are far more valuable to you than the small salary you might otherwise expect.
Reasons for Interning
Internships can provide invaluable on-site or virtual experience and networking opportunities in your field. This is particularly important considering the difficulty of “getting your foot in the door” in most fields, if not all of them. An internship will help you get started in the career of your choice in several ways.
- Building your résumé. It is very difficult to gain experience in certain fields, yet companies and organizations within those fields still expect this of their entry-level hires. Internships are opportunities to do the work required in your chosen field and to “build” a more competitive résumé that demonstrates marketable experience to prospective employers. Although never a guarantee, strong on-site or virtual internship experiences often result in job applicants securing a face-to-face or virtual interview for a position in the company or organization.
- First-hand experience in your intended career. Imagine gaining “hands-on” real or virtual experience in your prospective career field. Internships provide you with the opportunity to witness the pace and the volume of work that interests you and to gain exposure to the company culture and work environment while testing your skills and capabilities. This will assist you in making an informed decision about whether or not this career is really for you before you make a long-term commitment. For this reason, you should try to complete an internship early in your college career; that way, you can change majors without wasting time, money and energy.
- Networking. Through your internship, you will establish contacts in the industry. These contacts can serve as mentors for you and often agree to provide references when you launch your first full-time employment search. Internship supervisors and/or mentors are also valuable resources for gaining access to employment opportunities. If you are a productive and reliable intern, supervisors and/or mentors will often “go the extra mile” in recommending you for full time employment within or outside the company.
- Learning how to do the job. Acquiring the skills needed in your chosen career field can often help you gain an advantage over other job applicants. Additionally, performing efficiently and effectively at your job usually translates into promotions and other opportunities for advancement.
- Transitioning to a full-time job. If you perform well in your internship by producing quality work and maintaining good relationships with co-workers and staff, your supervisors will remember you and usually prioritize your resume for employment opportunities within the company/agency. If you have demonstrated productivity and reliability, you have “marketed” yourself as a potentially valuable addition to the company by earning the respect of your supervisors and coworkers.
When to Do an Internship?
- Recruiters are now seeking out interns in their sophomore year (sometimes even first year!) with the goal of retaining selected interns for the duration of their college career. Interns who begin in their sophomore year and remain through junior and senior years have the benefit of three years of training so that they are more “seasoned” in terms of understanding the mission, goals, and culture of the company. In many cases, students who have successfully interned at a company for three years can position themselves for hiring after graduation.
What if You Can’t Do an Internship?
- Sometimes students are unable to complete internships because of college class schedules, full or part time job commitments, family responsibilities, or health reasons. Here are some alternatives that can still help to build your resume.
- Participate in special academic projects or presentations
- Register for an academic internship class as part of your major
- Complete a Virtual Work Experience Program such as Forage, Skillfull.y or others
- Speak with a career specialist at the CCPD to strategize about building alternative types of skills on your resume
Completing an internship is a sure-fire resume builder and can potentially start you on the path to employment in your field. Therefore, it should top the list of “game changers” in your career planning.
Finding an Internship
There are many ways to obtain an internship including:
- The Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) – The Center offers the resources to help you research and secure internships in a variety of fields, including all majors and careers of interest to you. Sign on the Handshake – the CCPD online career management system to get firsthand information on all kinds of internships in your field. Use other internship and job search platforms such as Way Up, Indeed, etc.
- Your department’s Internship Coordinator – Some schools or academic departments collaborate with businesses and organizations to provide for-credit internship opportunities. In some cases, academic schools or departments require successful completion of an internship to graduate. Contact the Internship Coordinator in your academic department or school to learn more about the requirements for credit internships in your chosen career path. The Internship Coordinator is also the “point person” for arranging and supervising an internship for credit.
- Career fairs – Many employers recruit for interns at on-campus, hybrid, or virtual career fairs. Career fairs can be valuable opportunities to learn more about the qualities and skills that recruiters are looking for in an intern. They are also great ways to “practice” the skill of interviewing, networking, and being able to "tell your story" and promote your self-brand as LinkedIn states. In this case, career fairs are examples of “practice makes perfect!”
- Networking – Internships are posted regularly on generalized career websites, companies’ individual websites, and college online career management programs. LinkedIn is by far the most valuable tool in internship recruitment! By updating your LinkedIn profile (including a professional picture!), you are positioning yourself for internship recruitment or other special opportunities in your field. In today’s global and post COVID job market, on-site, hybrid, and virtual credit, paid, or unpaid internships are very much in-demand and are considered a requirement by most recruiters considering you for employment. Remember, because internships are very closely linked to “hiring potential”, the competition will be fierce. To gain a competitive edge in seeking an internship, always work closely with the Internship Coordinator in your academic department and/or CCPD Center Career Specialists to update your resume and LinkedIn profile, monitor your digital presence, and look for opportunities to network with recruiters and alumni who are in the market for a good intern!
Timeframe for Applying for Internships
You should not wait until the last possible moment to arrange your internship. You will need to reserve time to contact and apply to organizations, update your resume and cover letter, and conduct candidate presentation preparation (professional dress, interviewing skills, and business etiquette) before the actual date for the interview. You should observe the following timeframe when you arrange an internship, keeping in mind these are not hard and fast guidelines. To be a successful candidate, pay close attention to deadline dates and, as a rule, apply early and apply often to as many internships as you can. You never want to find yourself “closed out” of a valuable internship because you missed the deadline.
- For an internship in the fall, you should start the process in late April/early May
- For an internship during the winter intersession, you should start the process in late August/early September
- For an internship in the spring, you should start the process in October/November
- For an internship in the summer, you should start the process in January/February
How to Apply to a Job/Internship
Professionalism, one of the eight NACE Competencies for “Career Readiness” is defined as demonstrating personal accountability and effective work habits, integrity and ethical behavior, acting responsibly with the interests of a larger community in mind, and being able to learn from mistakes.
Approach an on-site, hybrid, or virtual internship with the same level of professionalism that you would for paid employment. Your performance will influence your marketability and boost your hiring power.
Here are some useful guidelines:
- Be reliable and always on time. Nothing makes a better impression with a supervisor or employer than punctuality. Especially on zoom!
- Do not assume you are on a first name basis with supervisors and/or coworkers. Politely inquire about how to address your supervisors or co-workers.
- Working on your assignments to the best of your ability.
- Paying attention to directions and fine details.
- Learning as much as you can about the industry, the company, and the daily operations of your office.
- Dressing appropriately according to the company’s dress code: remember that individuality can be shown through your work and your relationships, rather than your hair or clothing style. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and nothing creates a better winning impression than proper professional attire and grooming, whether that be in person or virtually.
- Avoid office politics and politics in general! Try to remain professional at all times – approachable, eager to take on new assignments and tasks, and establishing yourself as part of the “team.” Even if there is someone on staff that you do not get along with, do not make enemies. Remember that you are a temporary “employee,” and your future depends on the impression you create for your supervisors and coworkers. If you develop friendships with other interns, “take it outside” after working hours and limit your conversations with other interns to getting your assigned work completed.
- Avoid criticisms of the company or business. If you observe things that you feel can be done in a better way, keep a private list and file it away for some time in the future. If you have concerns about something, onsite or virtual, that may be illegal or harmful to others (bullying, inappropriate behavior, or language etc.) make an appointment with your supervisor to discuss confidentially. Never share anything like this with staff, coworkers, clients, or the person responsible for the problem. Always deal directly with your supervisor. Always practice confidentiality. Accusing someone on the job of something illegal or harmful without proven documentation can lead to legal troubles for you!
- Eliminate the use of smart phones, tablets, or other electronic devices related to your social media life while at your internship. Limit your personal calls or personal electronic correspondence to your lunch hour or break. When you arrive for your on-site internship each day, remove your earphones if you have been listening to music or podcasts etc. during your commute. If your internship is virtual, keep your camera on at all times unless directed otherwise by your internship supervisor or if there is another approved reason (medical, health, or technical problems) for turning off your camera. Don’t text while you are visible on a zoom meeting – as much as you try to “hide” texting others while on zoom, it is always apparent to others in the meeting.
- Email like a professional –avoid acronyms, emoticons, exclamation points or forwards of any kind in emails within the office or to outside sources. Use proper capitalization and punctuation, ensure correct spelling (do not rely on spell check), and keep a professional tone in what you write. Address all supervisors, co-workers, or outside clients as “Dear Mr. Smith” or Dear Mary; never use “Hey” in the salutation. Never Instant Message (IM) or text a professional contact unless you are directed to do so by that contact. Avoid the use of the phrase “you guys” when addressing supervisors, co-workers, clients, or other office staff either in person or via email or telephone. Do not use phrases like "Cool" or "Awesome" when responding back to work colleagues or supervisors. Even if others (including colleagues or supervisors) choose to respond this way, it is not professional business language and it seriously negates your professional profile.
- Monitor Digital Presence – “google” yourself and sanitize your digital presence before you apply, interview, and begin your internship. Internship supervisors increasingly use search engines to uncover information about a prospective intern and have been known to eliminate candidates in increasing numbers based on what they find and see online. Work hard at creating and maintaining an appropriate digital presence. Even after you have started the internship, inappropriate images on social media and on the web can result in your being terminated.
- Name your resume file correctly – always “name” your resume file with your first and last name. Most recruiters will delete resumes and cover letters forwarded through email if the file is named “resume.” You can miss a potential career opportunity if you file is not identifiable.
- Keep in touch with your supervisors upon completion of your internship, so they will remember you if a future position becomes available within or outside the company.
Download our résumé book below for a comprehensive look at resume writing, cover letter writing, and self-branding.
Job Fairs and Recruiting Events
No matter what type of event technology is used, here are some general tips to navigate an in-person or virtual career fair/event.
Before the Fair
- Know who will be there. Review the list of registered companies and identify organizations you are most interested in pursuing. Do some research and explore the companies that interest you, focusing on mission, culture, and skills valued. Prepare a list of questions for each employer based on your research of the organization. Consider the following examples of types of questions to ask.
- Know what you will say about yourself, your skills, and what you can bring to the company. Describe specific experiences where you demonstrated your strengths; examples will make you a stronger candidate. Practice this introduction with someone else, so that you get comfortable introducing yourself. Better yet – practice this virtually during a Zoom call with a friend!
- Prepare your resume. Update your resume, and make sure that it highlights your most marketable skills. Employers may have the option to collect resumes through an online resume book, so we recommend that you save your resume as a PDF to ensure a smoother upload. Also, make sure to have multiple versions (if needed) based on the different organizations/positions you anticipate engaging with during the fair.
- Prepare your space. For virtual fairs, you will want to make sure your technology is functioning properly. Test your internet reception, webcam, and microphone quality. Also, make sure to have backup options if technical glitches occur (i.e. a phone nearby if you need to call in). Because you may be able to interact with recruiters via video call, you should also make sure to find a clean, quiet, well-lit space.
- Attend on-campus/virtual workshops to help you prepare for career fairs.
At the Fair
- Dress to impress (even on video). Even at a virtual career fair there is the possibility of a video chat with an employer, so we recommend dressing the same way you would for an in-person fair. We encourage students to dress in "smart" casual or business casual attire. Examples include khakis, dress pants, skirts, button-down long sleeve shirts, sweater sets, blouses. Consult the What to Do in an Interview section of our webpage for more information.
- Use good body language (on video). In a virtual environment, body language and how you present yourself matters. Give a genuine smile when introducing yourself. Eye contact is very important to demonstrate interest and engagement. In a virtual environment, making eye contact means looking directly into the camera (not at yourself or the other person). This can take some getting used to, so practice with friends or family ahead of time. Sit up straight and avoid crossing your arms – you want to appear engaged and attentive. Also try to limit distracting behaviors like fidgeting, playing with your hair, looking around when talking or being spoken to, or chewing gum.
- Speak with confidence. It is important to speak slowly and clearly during a virtual conversation. Be sure not to talk over the other person – give them time to finish asking or answering a question before speaking. Answer questions confidently and definitively, just like you would at an in-person event.
- Be prepared to chat. Many virtual career fair platforms use chat functionality to allow employers and students to interact with each other. Just like any other communication with an employer, you want to keep these professional. Avoid using slang, emoticons, or acronyms (ex. LOL, UR) in your chats, and have questions prepared ahead of time for the employer so that you can quickly type them in. If it is a group chat, give other students the chance to get their questions answered before typing in additional questions.
- Take notes. Be sure to have a notebook and pen next to your computer to jot down notes and contact information. It is important to not seem distracted or appear as if you are doing other things on your computer.
- Get contact information. Be sure to write down the name and email address of company representatives that you talk to. It is also ok to ask about hiring processes/timelines to make sure you’re following the right steps!
- Cast a wide net! The fair is a great chance to compare and contrast many opportunities in a relatively short time (and is much more efficient than attending a one-hour presentation by each participating organization!). Be sure to do your research ahead of time so that you understand what each company does, what kinds of opportunities they are hiring for, and be prepared to talk about why you might be a good fit.
After the Fair
- Follow up. Send a thank-you email along with your resume; use the opportunity to reiterate how your background and skills match their needs. Consider using LinkedIn to connect with the contacts you made.
- Reference someone you engaged with at the fair in the opening paragraph of your cover letter. For example, “After interacting with Jane Doe at the Diversity Opportunities Fair, I know my analytical and communication skills will be a good fit for the marketing Internship role at WGBH.” You do not need to know the contact extensively but be genuine in how you refer to him or her.
- Maintain contact. Companies are busy doing what they do and may not get back to you right away. It’s okay to send a reminder if you haven’t heard anything in a few days. Better yet, find an article based on what you discussed during the fair, or related to the organization’s industry, and send that along with your email. It shows that you are genuinely interested in their work and actually paid attention.
- View additional tips on attending a career fair
- How to Work a Job Fair
- How to Work a Virtual Job Fair
- Plan and Prepare Tips
- CandidCareer: Preparing for a IN-PERSON job fair/recruiting event
- CandidCareer: Preparing for a VIRTUAL job fair/recruiting event
What is Employment Consultation
Employment Consultation is a supportive process that involves helping students to identify realistic employment opportunities that are a good match between their qualifications and the needs of the employer. It is time-limited, individualized, and student driven, relying strongly on the individual’s resources to secure employment.
Employment Consultation Services
- Individualized Employment Consultation – students often have a vision for a perfect career but may not have the tools to transform that vision into actual paying employment. Employment Consultation does just that. It involves meeting with a Career Development Specialist who will assist you in identifying and strengthening your person brand including your strengths, talents, skills, and values followed by preparation to conduct a comprehensive job search. This includes utilizing your personal brand to develop your career readiness competencies including updating your professional resume and cover letter, identifying skills and contributions relevant to your employment search and “practicing” interviewing, skills for business etiquette, professional dress, networking, and salary/benefits negotiation. You will be encouraged to sign on to Handshake, our online career management system to search job opportunities in your field of interest as well as other online job search engines especially LinkedIn as the primary resource for employment recruitment for corporate and nonprofit employment opportunities.
- On Site or Virtual On-Campus Recruitment – this provides a great opportunity to interview for full time employment on your own onsite or virtual turf! If you have followed through with individualized employment consultation and now have a competitive resume, some practice in interviewing, and knowledge about professional business etiquette, you can qualify for on campus interviewing for professional positions with representatives of corporations, nonprofit agencies, or government agencies. Register with Handshake so you can keep up to date with the OCR schedule of employers visiting CSI. If there is an employer you are interested in interviewing with, let us know and our staff work with you regarding the selection process.
- Job Fairs – Job Fairs, both on-campus and virtual, are a concrete way to “practice” interviewing and networking skills with actual recruiters and to master the art of leveraging your skills, talents, and abilities in today’s job market. Focus on Job Fairs that are targeted to your major as these may yield more promising opportunities. Attend every one of them. The more Job Fairs you attend, the more you will enhance your career marketing and interviewing skills by exposure to recruiters and experience in interacting with them. Whether you land a job or not, Job Fairs are the best illustration of “practice makes perfect.”
- On-Site or Virtual Mentoring, Job Shadowing, Informational Interviewing – “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back” Mentors are trusted professionals who can help you to learn more about the world of work and to gain useful knowledge about your chosen field of study/interest. Mentoring can include direct assistance with your career and professional development, role modeling, and emotional and psychological support in your career planning process. Although mentoring is NOT an internship, its benefits are similar. Mentors can “open doors” for employment opportunities through job shadowing (spending a day “on the job” with a mentor) or informational interviewing (conducting interviews with mentors to gain specific, first-hand knowledge about a chosen field). Mentoring and its components offer you yet another job search strategy that relies heavily on networking. Take advantage of it since mentors, many of whom are alumni and committed to hiring CSI graduates, volunteer their time and have a vested interest in seeing you succeed in your job search. Check out The City Tutors: A Volunteer Tutoring and Mentoring Community.
Reasons for Using Employment Consultation Services
Chances are, this is your first real job search. No one expects you to know everything, especially when it comes to launching your job search which may involve a whole set of skills that you have yet to develop and “try out” in the world. And this includes learning more about and grasping the virtual world of employment search. As with any new skill you are trying to master, it is best to ask for help and to practice, practice, practice. Oftentimes, the expertise of a Career Development Specialist can help you develop a job search plan and encourage you as you take those steps in the hiring process. When it comes to a job search, practice may not make perfect, but it may go a long way to helping you land the job you want.
Information is not enough. Gathering information about an academic major, the on-site and virtual job market, employment trends, or a particular company of interest to you are important first steps in launching a job search. Oftentimes, we need that extra support to turn what we know and want into action. In this case, that means securing a job. Employment Consultation can help you figure out how to use information to your best advantage so that you can make sound decisions and choices regarding your job search and establish yourself as a competitive job seeker.
Partnerships can drive success. Partnerships can help you learn, grow, and produce fulfilling results in both your professional and personal life. Career Specialists can draw on their full professional, analytical, and technical expertise to accelerate your career success. Clear goals for where you want your career to go, a sharp view of how to achieve those goals, stronger recruitment relationships, these are only some of the benefits in partnering with a Career Specialist. Let all that talent and experience work for you to help you get from where you are today to where you want to be in the future. Career Specialists will follow you every step of the way. You are partners in success!
There are many ways to launch a job search, including
The Center for Career and Professional Development - As much as we would like to be, we, like every other college career services office, are not an employment agency. We have limited resources for employment placement but unlimited resources for employment preparation. Our mission is to assist you in acquiring the skills so that you can “get out there” and launch a successful job search. We do offer limited full time and part time job postings in various fields of study and up to date employment opportunities posted to Handshake, our web-based career planning program and access to other job search platforms such as Way up, Indeed, and LinkedIn – the primary resource for full time employment recruitment. Whether it’s a onsite or virtual employment opportunity, we give you the tools; you go out there and make it happen!
Career Development Specialists - As noted earlier, consulting with a Career Specialist can offer you an individualized approach to your job search. Although we are not an employment agency, our Career Specialists have established working relationships with a recruiter in your field of study and, if you work hard on developing your job search skills, this can sometimes translate into referral, placement, and hiring.
On-site or Virtual Job Fairs –Hiring trends in today’s job market dictate moving away from large high volume job fairs to smaller, targeted events specific to academic majors both on campus (the traditional method) and virtual (largely as a result of COVID 19). Job Fairs in Accounting, Communications, Computer Science, and the like have become standard practice allowing students more one to one personal access to recruiters with the potential for increased hiring rates. Although Job Fairs encompassing all majors have become less popular over the past few years, they are still around on campus, virtual or both! Scope them out, conduct your job fair preparation, and attend every one that you can!
Search Engines – Search Engines can be powerful tools in seeking employment so choose them wisely. Select those search engines that are legitimate, have a reliable reputation, and are targeted to your career field. Avoid search engines that ask you for personal or confidential information and/or guarantee unrealistic or “quick fix” placements while soliciting money from you. LinkedIn is a must! Since almost ninety percent of hiring for employment starts with LinkedIn, make sure this is first and foremost in your job search toolbox!
Social Networking – Select social networking sites are legitimate resources for seeking employment, but there can be pitfalls that can stop your job search right in its tracks. Remember that anything you post to a social networking site is likely to be accessed by a potential employer and may influence their decision-making in hiring you. Be smart in sanitizing and maintaining a professional digital media presence and changing your filter to private when you are conducting your job search. If you post a picture of yourself on LinkedIn, and other popular sites, make sure it is a professional pose. These, and others like it, are employment networking sites, not social and personal media sites. Remember, even though it may seem like an invasion of your privacy, employers will “google” you and what comes up will create a “first” impression of you. Always look the part of a professional.
“Tried and True” Methods – While technology is rapidly changing the face of job search strategizing in a post COVID job market, it is important to remember that many students secure employment using the “tried and true” methods of scanning virtual and real newspaper want ads regularly and networking with professionals, alumni, acquaintances, and even family members who may be able “open doors” for you at a company that interests you.
Remember: Networking accounts for more successful hiring than all the career search engines put together!