1. Start Early
Depending on your program, you may be given a list of internship sites that have welcomed WSU students in the past, or you may be completely on your own. Either way, the key to scoring a great internship is starting early – search around to see what opportunities are out there, the applicant requirements, and application deadlines. WSU Alumni Amanda Sievers ‘20 suggests, “If you don’t start applying for internships early, at least start your research early on.” Ensuring your resume is up to date and peer or professionally reviewed is also an important step in getting ready for internship applications.
2. Identify Your Career Goals
An important step in searching for an internship is identifying what YOU want based on your future career goals. Don’t worry too much about specifics but having a general idea of your career goals will only benefit you. Identifying where you want to go in your career will allow you to find internship opportunities that align with those goals and ultimately give you more experience in getting where you want to go. For example, if you are an Applied and Professional Writing Major, you may consider if you want to work for a smaller organization managing blogs or for a large book editing company. Knowing your goals will help guide you on finding an internship that you will be happy in.
3. Apply to Multiple Places
WSU Alumni, Chelsea Hanson ‘18, offered some advice to students seeking internships: “When looking for [an internship], reach out to as many places as possible that fit your wants and needs. It’s best to have options!”
It never fails, you get excited about an opportunity thinking you’ve nailed it, just to hear back that they’ve chosen another candidate. You don’t want to be stuck with no options, so apply to as many internship sites as you can find. It’s always better to tell an organization “no”, than to have to scramble and beg for an internship.
4. Use Your Connections
“Reach out to the Warrior Success Center, your professors, [supervisors,] and other professionals,” recent WSU graduate Melissa Paetzel ‘20 suggests. It’s easier if you, “establish relationships early on so that when the time comes, that you need a reference or an internship, they know who you are.”
Network with people you know and other professionals to help you find and secure internship sites. You can also use platforms like LinkedIn and Handshake to look for internship positions or get to know companies that you could reach out to.
5. Don’t Stress, Just Ask
As mentioned previously, depending on your program, you may be given a list of internship site suggestions or you may be completely on your own. No matter your situation, don’t be afraid to look at organizations or companies that may not have an internship position listing posted.
“The process was much easier than I had anticipated, and I realized that I just needed to ask,” Melissa Paetzel ‘20, a recent graduate of WSU shared. “I reached out to people I knew at WSU and other colleges [outlining] what I was looking for, along with my resume, and asked if they had any opportunities available or if they would be willing to create something. Asking for the internship and outlining what I wanted helped me create a clear path and was met with enthusiasm. I had multiple internship offers and was able to then pick which one would work best with my schedule and future career plans.”
WSU Alumni Amanda Sievers ‘20, shared her experience with finding a school counseling internship placement, “I looked for schools around the metro, went to their website, and found [school] counselors’ emails, and emailed them directly asking if they were interested in having a practicum/ intern student.”
On-Campus & Online Resources:
Career Services: www.winona.edu/career/
Schedule an appointment at https://advisortrac.winona.edu/tracweb40/default.html for help with Resume/Cover Letter, Interview skills/Mock Interview, or Internship/Job Search Advising.
Practice your interview skills online with pre-made or custom interview questions. This program temporarily records your responses so you can view yourself to improve your interviewing skills.
Search and apply for jobs and internships nationwide right on Handshake.
Connect with other professionals on LinkedIn to develop those connections and potentially find internships or job offers!
Authored by Alexis Olson
-Career Services Graduate Assistant
-Warrior Success Center
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