Alice Mungyu ‘19
Summer is fast approaching and that means it’s that time of the year again: applying to internships or research positions. To further ground their academic endeavors, students and recent graduates take on a temporary job to get hands-on experience in a field they’re interested in. Internships enable you to explore potential career fields, practice applying your academic skills in professional settings and observe first-hand how workplaces function. It also teaches important skills such as time management and connects you with experienced professionals who can mentor you.
How to Get Started:
While some internship involves pay, others are unpaid. However, Smith students may be eligible for a Praxis stipend to work at unpaid summer internships in the U.S. or abroad in fields such as healthcare, government, education etc. For more information, visit: https://www.smith.edu/lazaruscenter/praxis.php
Before you start applying, put some thought into your search and use the resources that are accessible to you. The process of searching can be long and tedious, so start now to increase your chances of getting selected. Think about the field you want to explore or skills you want to learn. Do you like to interact with children? Are you interested in working in a lab?
Tips on applying to internships:
Use the Internet: Make sure to take advantage of your resources. Once you have goals in mind, start looking for opportunities online. Try Internshipprograms.com which allows you to search by employer, field, date and location, or GoAbroad.com which shows you a variety of internships in different countries. You can also search local businesses or organizations in your areas of interest and see if they are offering internship programs.
Start early to increase your chances of finding a great opportunity: Application deadlines vary depending upon industry and organization; some companies (for example, large finance and consulting firms) may hire summer interns the preceding fall, while other organizations won’t post positions or begin considering applicants until February or March.
A typical application consists of a resume, cover letter and a letter of recommendation to be submitted by email or through an online application system. Sometimes an organization will request an essay, writing sample or academic transcript. Always follow the guidelines when applying.
Visit the Lazarus Center:
The Lazarus Center for Career Development has many resources to help you get started in your search. Meet with an adviser to or drop-in with a peer adviser to get feedback on your resumes and cover letters (limited to 15 minutes).
To make most out of your internship, make sure to stay in contact with the people you meet. An occasional email, phone call or visit during school breaks may help sustain your relationships with the members of your professional network.