Maybe you spent your summer interning for a company or your local representative. But if you didn’t have an internship over the past couple of months, don’t sweat. There is still time to line up opportunities for this fall and next semester.
If you’re trying to nab an internship early in the semester, follow these instructions and you shouldn’t need to worry:
Get to know your professor
At a school as large as GW, it’s easy to overlook the connections your professors can afford you. But professors have research endeavors and contacts of working professionals who can give you a leg up in your future career if you use them wisely.
Take some time before or after class to introduce yourself to the professor, especially if you’re in a large lecture hall with dozens of other students. Establishing a face-to-face relationship with your professor is the first step to talking with them more personally about your post-college aspirations and getting their insight on careers. Don’t be nervous to consistently visit their office hours or ask them about their work out of the classroom – they will likely enjoy the attention anyway.
If the professor can’t hook you up with an internship themselves, you may still know them well enough to ask for a letter of recommendation. If you have a relationship with the professor, they will be more likely to help you and recommend an opportunity they think may be a good fit for your interests. Without a solid one-on-one connection with someone who knows your work ethic and personality, your letters of recommendation will likely turn out dull or generic – and that is if someone agrees to write it.
Use career services
The Center for Career Services offers an extensive amount of coaching, from resume and cover letter advice to networking events and interviewing trainings. Both students and alumni can use career services, so you can continue to use the center after you graduate.
In addition to the center’s training, the website includes a section that lists jobs and internship opportunities on Handshake, the University’s online job portal. You can schedule a free appointment with a career exploration and assessment coach to help you pinpoint your interests and choose a field that may be a good fit for you. You can also schedule an appointment with an industry career coach for advice on a particular job sector like media, design, arts, communications, science and technology or public relations.
Career services includes international opportunities, too. Using Passport Career, a section of Handshake that gives exclusive access to GW students, you can narrow down opportunities based on where in the country or world you want to work. GW Passport and Global Jobs are additional databases listed on the career services website that students can use to track down opportunities outside of the United States.
Update your resume
This may seem obvious, but keeping your resume up-to-date will make the application process for an internship much smoother.
Comb through your current resume at the beginning of the year and take out any outdated or irrelevant information, like which awards you won in high school or the time you lifeguarded at a YMCA years ago. If you’re entering sophomore or junior year, you shouldn’t have high school clubs or accomplishments listed on a resume, so remove them and keep your current extracurriculars.
If you haven’t previously taken an internship, you should still keep work experience from the summers you spent home, like being a camp counselor or working a customer service job. Those experiences will help employees understand what skills you can bring to the table when it’s time to hire.
If the University-wide resources fail you, you’ve still got your respective school to lean on. Each school uses some method, whether it be through weekly emails or their own respective career services, to keep students up-to-date on internship opportunities. For example, the School of Media and Public Affairs releases a weekly newsletter with a rundown of jobs and internships.
The GW Alumni Association also connects students with interested alumni through Alumni Industry Networks. By signing up for networking emails, you can pin down an alumni you may want to talk with in areas like health care, marketing and advertising, fashion and technology.