Top Tips for Scoring Student Internships and Jobs

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July 8, 2016

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Table of Contents

Top Tips for Scoring Student Internships and Jobs an Expert Guest Blog

We asked former students to give their tips on how they landed their dream internship or job.

Here are some key tips:

All students should have a LinkedIn profile and make the most of it

    Experts stress this again and again, because the LinkedIn format offers so many ways to highlight your strengths and accomplishments. And it’s often among the first results to pop up when a recruiter searches for you.

Make the most of the opportunities available to you

    Career centers, faculty, advisors and other mentors are there to help you explore future career opportunities and build a network of contacts. Getting involved in groups and clubs also helps you build networking and leadership skills.

Get outside your comfort zone

    Get to know your professors and other mentors, even if approaching authority figures outside of class feels uncomfortable at first. It gets easier, and it’s a critical skill that will serve you well for the rest of your life.

How impactful is social media in today’s hiring process?

The student is a brand, and they have to think of themselves that way. —Aaron Perez

Human Resources Magazine found that 94% of recruiters are hiring their applicants from online platforms and social media networks. —Sonja Montiel

LinkedIn has become an established recruitment tool that puts all of our resume collateral online. That's why it is so important for students to make sure that it is up to date, accurate, and reflects what they really want to show a recruiter. For all of our students at Pepperdine, we recommend that they place their LinkedIn URL on their resumes, so it is very easy for recruiters to click on that. It is a great tool because it’s so easy to update with new activities and leadership positions, student internships, etc. In our communications division, we also work with media production with students so that they have their Instagram, Tumblr, and YouTube sites up and ready. —Ingrid Greene

Ingrid Greene headshot
Ingrid Greene
Program Coordinator
Pepperdine University

The student is a brand, and they have to think of themselves that way. I always tell students to utilize LinkedIn not only for the networking aspect; you can also publish articles and find other ways to get your name out there. If you want a positive Google search when an employer searches your name, what comes up? It’s LinkedIn. So use it to your advantage. —Aaron Perez

How do you help students build up that part of their LinkedIn where they gather recommendations and skill endorsements? How important is that?

Recommendations are obviously nice, because if someone is looking at their profile, they can see a recommendation from someone who worked with the student on a past internship or a past job, or maybe a faculty advisor. It also teaches students the value of building a good reputation and relationships while you are in college. Students need to start thinking about that even as freshmen. —Franciska Morlet

Franciska Morlet headshot
Franciska Morlet
Assistant Director
Chapman University

I think the recommendation piece is really nice because it’s a great place to highlight the softer skills of the candidate, such as their communication skills/how they work within the workplace, which is the number one reason why people hire. Your LinkedIn profile will always have your more technical skills too, but it is where those recommendations come in handy to really solidify the whole package of the candidate. —Ingrid Greene

Can any of you speak to how the boundaries of where you can work to gain valuable experience are changing?

Students used to graduate with maybe 1 internship, but now it is more common to graduate with 3-4. —Ingrid Greene

I feel that nowadays college students are making their careers happen without having to wait until they graduate. If they are passionate about something, they make it happen now. If they are passionate about creating a non-profit that helps underprivileged students, then they are doing it while they are in school. They have the tools now to do it. If there is something that you are passionate about, you don't have to wait until you graduate to pursue that passion. That is what I have been seeing a lot with students from Chapman University. —Aaron Perez

Aaron Perez headshot
Aaron Perez
Career Specialist
Chapman University

I would say that least 50% of the students that we meet with are entrepreneurs. They are not only succeeding academically and involved in extracurriculars on campus, but they also have side businesses. We have 25 student workers, and at least 50% of them have their own side business, and it is incredible. —Franciska Morlet

I also feel that internship opportunities are great for students right now. It gives them the opportunity to see what they want to do and to test out things and learn what they do or don’t like. That can even help guide important decisions about their majors and other areas of study. I think that students used to graduate with maybe one internship, but now it is more common to graduate with three to four. —Ingrid Greene

What is the one best practice that you want to highlight?

Encourage students to participate and not just be that student who is showing up every day. —Franciska Morlet

Students do not have to wait until they are finished with college to start working on their career. I feel like it is really about finding yourself. What are you passionate about? What do you want to go into? What makes you happy? And how do you find a crossover among those goals? Find alternatives to what you want as well, because often we get students who come in and say, "I want to work in the entertainment industry.” Well, what does that mean? Let's narrow that down, because there are a lot of different avenues that we can go in. Broaden their horizons and help them find out what they want to do so that they do not wait until college is over to pursue their career. —Aaron Perez

I would recommend that students really use the resources. I feel like today in academia, the professors and the staff are really available and want to help. There is so much talent in the faculty. Students are often afraid, or they don't know what they want to do, or maybe they feel intimidated. I feel like it doesn't matter. Just get in there and ask for advice and start. Start the resume, take an internship that maybe you aren't sure about but will help you figure out the next step. Really start trying things and networking. —Ingrid Greene

Networking is the most important thing. Take advantage of resources when you are in college, because a lot of career centers do not offer those services for you once you graduate. For example, we only work with graduates two years out. When I was a student in college, I didn't take advantage of all of the different resources that could have opened up doors for me. So encourage students from day one to participate and not just be that student who is showing up for school every day. Networking doesn't come easily to most of us, but the more you get used to that at a young age, the better you’ll be able to build relationships naturally. —Franciska Morlet

Do you think social media and online communications risk undermining the next generation’s ability to interact face to face?

Find adults to be mentors and help engage students in face-to-face networking. —Sonja Montiel

I think because social media is so prolific and we are constantly using these electronic tools, we do risk growing into this social isolation that undermines the ability to socialize in person. If parents and schools can find adults to be mentors and help really engage students in practicing face-to-face interaction and networking skills, that would make a huge difference. —Sonja Montiel

Sonja Montiel headshot
Sonja Montiel
Education Consultant
College Confidence

This is another reason to encourage extracurricular activities when kids are young, whether it’s sports or any organization where it encourages them to have to speak to each other. One of the reasons I'm here today is because I was on a team, and when things fell apart and we lost, we had to think about how we would pick ourselves back up and move forward. So that is really important. —Franciska Morlet

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