By Kayleen Bengtson, Business Manager
Oh, the dreaded “what are your summer plans?” question. Many of you can answer this in full confidence of the adventure that awaits in the next three months. Others, however, are frazzled and unsure of anything beyond hanging out with friends, binge-watching Netflix, and the inevitable family road trip. This article is for the latter group of students, those who want to figure it out but don’t know where to begin. Here’s a few tips for those of you struggling to figure out where on earth to begin:
Schedule out time to commence the hunt. Take advantage of that awkward fifteen-minute gap between class and practice or your next meeting. The key here is to prioritize diligently and repeatedly. Make it a discipline to spend 15-30 minutes every day cleaning up social media, researching, emailing, and the like.
Now that you’ve carved out 2 to 3 hours a week dedicated to finding the perfect summer internship, what on earth are you supposed to do in that time? Well, first things first, clean up your social media. Regardless of your personal standings on social media, virtually all employers look through your news feed on all outlets. Fun fact: According to an article inthemuse.com “one in three employers rejected candidates based on something they found about them online” (“How to Clean Up Your Social Media During the Job Search”). Thus it serves you well to dig up digital dirt on yourself and clean up all those incriminating photos and obnoxious political or emotionally sappy status updates. The key here is not to create a fake version of yourself, but rather to refine the publicly viewed areas of your profile.
Keeping in line with social media, the next step is to create a LinkedIn profile. This may seem useless upon first glance, but once you begin utilizing LinkedIn you will realize that it can be one of your greatest networking tools. Tip: stop sending your resume into the black hole abyss of cyberspace. Instead, make connections with Asbury alum in a similar field you’re looking into. Connect with family friends or your church and get the word out that you’re interested in a summer internship in such-and-such field. I would also recommend stopping into our Career & Calling office in Fletcher Early. They have great resources to explore your strengths and can offer great insight to get you plugged in. Also it’s free, so take advantage of it. The point is this: your name is far more reliable when others can attest to it.
This is the time for you to get introspective and ask yourself questions. What are you interested in? What are you passionate about? What are you naturally good at? Where do you want to go? Would you explore unpaid positions? What kinds of organization do you want to work for – big, small, non-profit? In your allotted 2 to 3 hours per week, ask yourself these kinds of questions and research organizations that best fit you. Reach out through acquired contacts and take the initiative to email or pick up the phone and call potential leads.
Upon landing a lead you need to begin practicing, and practicing some more. A few common questions most interviewers ask are: “What is your greatest (or top three) strengths?” “What is your greatest weakness?” “Describe a time where you resolved conflict.” “Why should we choose to hire you?” Although other questions will be thrown into your interview, be sure to have these answers firmly nailed down with a graceful delivery. Also, pull out that suit your mom bought you three years ago or that blazer you’ve been dying to try out and dress the part by looking sharp. Fun fact: it takes seven seconds to develop a first impression. Take advantage of those seven seconds to grasp your interviewer’s attention but have the knowledge to keepit.
Whether working this summer entails an on-campus job, cross-cultural experience or a corporate internship, work hard and work well. Job-hunting, interning, and work in general, requires putting in significant effort that may not always be doing something we love. While that may sound unappealing, there’s really no way to get around it. But the Lord blesses our efforts, so make an effort.