You have probably heard of the importance of internships: you gain experience, can land you a job when you graduate, and sometimes you can even make money. But how does one actually secure an internship? It can be a frustrating process, but we’ll give you some helpful hints and resources to make your search a bit easier.
First, it’s important to understand what type of internship you are looking for. Accounting? Law? Government? Paid or unpaid? Determining exactly what you are looking for will prepare you for a more successful search. If you are unsure, try browsing several job search websites and reading job descriptions, or schedule an appointment with a Career Services Industry Advisor.
Second, begin the search! Mason’s Career Services office is a great first resource. They run Handshake, a Mason-affiliated job search website much like Indeed but catered towards Mason students. One of the great benefits of Handshake is that employers that post offerings on the site are looking to hire Mason students specifically. This can give you a leg up during the application process.
Career Services also hosts various career fairs throughout the year. Career fairs are an excellent opportunity to network with prospective employers. Remember to dress well and attend one of Career Services prep session before attending!
LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job search websites are good resources too. Here you can find which employers are currently hiring and open job positions, including internships. If you are looking for an internship within the government USAJobs and IC Careers are the best places to look. Remember, some government internships will require applicants to undergo a stringent clearance process. Career Services offers a comprehensive program to help students prepare for the process.
If there is a company or organization you know you’d like to apply to, it is best to go straight to their website and apply directly.
Third, go through the application process. Preparing for the application process can be a challenging feat. I recommend reading Career Services’ Career Readiness Guide, which contains vast tips, tricks, and resources.
After applying, almost all internships will require an interview – some even require multiple. You must be prepared beforehand. Again, Career Services offers amazing interview preparatory programs. You can also practice alone through InterviewStream. The interview is often the most important aspect of any job application. This is your chance as an applicant to showcase your personality, skills, as well as ask questions and learn more.
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