When it comes to relevant work experience, the summer is often the most popular time to obtain it. Unfortunately, many students sabotage their summer job or internship search by waiting to look until March or April. Avoid this professional landmine. Use the following quick tips to jumpstart your search today.
- Start looking ASAP. The good positions go fast. In fact, the South Dakota Bureau of Personnel is currently advertising more than 100 summer internships. The deadline to apply is February 1. Other organizations, such as Lawrence & Schiller, also have similar deadlines.Employers want to hire the most talented candidates first and know that April is too late to advertise their opening. This is especially true for Sioux Falls because many college students return to the area during the summer. Do not delay. Submit your application immediately.
- Look for opportunities that directly relate to your long-term career goals. Whether it is CNA, residential counselors, summer camps, national parks, museums, bank tellers or research positions, opportunities exist for all majors. Apply for multiple positions so you are able to learn more about these opportunities and have a plan B if it is needed.
- Know where to look and be persistent. In addition to Cougar Careers, USF’s employment database, the South Dakota Department of Labor posts thousands of jobs and internships. For these websites and other commercial search engines, remember to use “summer” as a keyword or select “seasonal” or “temporary” in the advanced search options. If you are interested in working for the federal government, learn more about the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). Also monitor the websites of the organizations that interest you and contact these companies to inquire about potential openings. Use social media to update your friends and family on the position you are seeking. If you are looking for an internship, connect with more than 100 organizations at the Business, Industry & Government (B.I.G.) Job Fair on March 13 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.
- Be flexible and open. While you might earn more money in a position unrelated to your goals, this will catch-up with you later when you lack direct experience in the field. Although some internships are unpaid, they often permit you to gain experience and can lead to full-time employment after graduation. It is possible to get the best of both worlds, but it might require you to be creative. Couple an internship with a part-time job to augment your income. Live on campus or at home to save money. Remember that everyone has to start somewhere. Even a part-time job that may not initially be glamorous, such as an administrative assistant, can be professionally beneficial in the right setting and expose you to the work environment. This ultimately will help you confirm your major, gain experience and expand your network.
- Write your resume and cover letter. Prepare for interviews. Once you have located positions and identified the organizations you want to target, you are ready to prepare your application. Resume-writing and interview resources can be found in My.USF > ASC Services. After you have prepared a draft of your resume, simply swing by Career Services in the lower level of the McDonald Center and we will offer you a personalized critique that will align your resume with best-practices and current trends in personal branding. We also can conduct a mock interview and help you prepare responses for commonly asked interview questions.