Internships and the Lazarus Center Tips from Jason Bauer-Clapp

Tyra Wu ’19
Assistant Features Editor

January: the month of New Year’s resolutions, new classes and the scramble to apply for internships. Although an internship is not the only productive way to spend the summer, it’s an option for students who want to experience firsthand what the “real world” is like. While many students want to pursue internships, oftentimes they don’t know where to begin. However, the Lazarus Center offers a rich selection of resources to help students find those coveted summer positions.

“I think that’s something people either forget about, or they recognize that Smith provides so many resources and don’t know where to start,” said Lazarus Center Associate Director Jason Bauer-Clapp.

One of the main supports for finding and applying to internships is the Lazarus Center for Career Development. The center provides individualized advising and information about job and internship opportunities. In addition, the center plans a number of career fairs and recruiting sessions from various companies. While Smith students have many options, a common mistake students make in searching for internships is limiting themselves to one or two paths.

“The point is that there are many, many ways to find opportunities,” Bauer-Clapp said. “There are lots of channels because we find out about things through many different ways. You want to cast a wide net.”

Furthermore, students should keep an open mind when applying for internships. An internship does not have to be exactly what a student wants in order to be a beneficial learning experience.

“It doesn’t have to be the perfect fit to be worthwhile to apply,” Bauer-Clapp said. “You want to apply to a lot of opportunities and if you move forward in the process and it’s not the right fit for you, that’s okay.”

Some students even deliberately apply to internships outside of their major in order to experiment in different fields.

“It really starts with people thinking about what they’re interested in, what they’re curious about,” Bauer-Clapp said. “Just think about what sparks your interest, or what sounds like something new and fresh.”

Students should begin the search for an internship early, keeping a resume and cover letter on hand. Once an interesting opportunity arises, students should then tailor the material specifically for the opportunity. In addition, Bauer-Clapp recommends practicing interview skills early on in the process, even before an interview is scheduled. Interviewing is a skill many people have not developed, it is one of the most important steps in the internship process.

“For most people it’s uncomfortable, it’s an odd interaction,” Bauer-Clapp said. “So having that chance to practice is really important. Resumes don’t get you hired usually, interviews do.”

Once a student completes an internship, Bauer-Clapp believes that they should reflect in order to get the most out of the experience.

“When [a student] comes out of an internship, I believe it’s really important to take some time to reflect, beyond I liked it or I didn’t like it,” Bauer-Clapp said. “That process is really important to making this something that can then give some insight, it amplifies the experience.”

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