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Help: I Need an Internship!

You have finally made it to senior year.  You are past the agonizingly painful courses that you were convinced had nothing to do with your major, and you are on the homestretch to graduation! But wait a second, through all the late night studying, tailgate parties, and plans for a perfect future, you forgot your internship credit!  Luckily you’ve chosen to attend the IU School of Public Health, and you are in great hands when it comes to career help – and let’s face it, the start of your career is approaching faster than you can blink.

Before you start bursting into tears of stress, here are some steps and ideas you can take to ensure you obtain the most beneficial internship for you!

1.     Schedule an appointment with your career advisor! To avoid the inevitable wait during walk-in hours, you can schedule an appointment online or by phone! Just visit http://www.publichealth.indiana.edu/careers/careerspecialists.shtml, find the career advisor that matches your major, and voila, you have taken your first step to finding your internship! That wasn’t so bad, was it?

2.     Discover how the Internship Portal can help you.  The Internship Portal is a great tool to use when deciphering what steps to take next in your internship search, but it will also act as an important tool while you are completing your internship.  The Internship Portal allows you to access mid-term and final evaluation information, as well as the guidelines and procedures required for your internship to count as class credit.  The importance of referencing to the Internship Portal cannot be stressed enough – it is your guide not only to finding great internship opportunities, but ensuring your internship counts as class credit, also!  To make for easy access, here is the link: http://www.publichealth.indiana.edu/careers/internshipportal.shtml.  Read the guidelines and prepare yourself for what is expected of your internship experience.

3.     Network, network, network! If you think you do not know anyone in your preferred career – think again. Use the 6 degrees of separation theory to your advantage in this stage. Let’s say for example you want to be a sportscaster for ESPN.  While you may not know anyone within ESPN, your brother’s friend may have a close friend that works closely with the company! Ask around and discover what tools are available right at your fingertips.  However, if you are having trouble with this stage and cannot seem to get a lead on any opportunities, step 4 will be a surefire way to get you back on track.

4.     Research and contact companies that interest you and pertain to your intended career path. The internship requirement is not just there because it reflects well on the program – it is there to give you the greatest chance at finding your passion, creating a network, and helping you gain experience that will lead to a successful career.  Keep in mind that in order for the internship to work fully for you, you must look at it as more than a “requirement” that needs to be filled so you can throw that cap in May.  It is an opportunity to expand your network and find what career path will satisfy you after graduation.  It is also important during this phase that you keep your options open.  You do not want to sell yourself short and only apply for one or two internships.  Keep in mind that there are thousands of college students just like you who are looking for field experience.  The best scenario is to start your search early and keep an open mind while submitting resumes and cover letters!

5.     You got the internship! They called you and want to hire you! Congratulations! Now after you are finished doing a secret celebratory dance (in which you think no one is watching), schedule another appointment with your career advisor.  It is important to review the terms and conditions of the internship with an advisor to ensure that you are going to receive optimal experience. Your advisor can also look over paperwork with you and help you understand all that legal talk! It is very important that you schedule an appointment with your advisor before signing any legally binding contracts, and to emphasize its importance, here is the link again to make an appointment with your career advisor – http://www.publichealth.indiana.edu/careers/careerspecialists.shtml.

6.     Listen, learn, and be useful! It is your first day on the job and you do not want to step on any toes, right?  Speaking from experience, the best way to complete an internship and become useful to the organization is: Listen to advice from colleagues and take into consideration their suggestions on how to handle certain situations. Learn from your mistakes and improve yourself.  Mistakes will happen, it is inevitable.  The best way to clean up a mistake is to learn from the experience and remember it as a valuable resource for the future instead of a past failure. Be useful and make the company miss you when your internship is over.  Whether you are making copies or cold-calls for sales, be the best at it!

Hopefully these steps can guide you on your way to finding that perfect internship for you.  For those of you who are not yet into your senior or junior year, the best way to ensure a less stressful approach to finding an internship is to avoid procrastination! Even if your major does not require an internship to graduate, consider applying for one! It is always great to have previous experience within your field when applying for jobs straight out of college.

Now that you have taken a break from the books on a Saturday night to read this article, get back to studying and looking for that perfect opportunity to improve your career before it even starts!

Megan Reynolds is an undergraduate intern with Indiana University School of Public Health Career Services.  She is a senior Sport Marketing and Management major and spent a portion of her summer as the 2012 ShopRite LPGA Classic Social Media/Marketing Intern in Greater Atlantic City, NJ.  She hopes to pursue a career in sport management/marketing when she graduates in December 2012.

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Categories: Career Advice Internships

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IUSPH Career Services

Job opportunities for Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington majors are diverse and expanding as the emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle grows around the world. Career Services experts in each of our academic departments will provide one-on-one counseling and career building opportunities throughout your academic career, from choosing the right major to developing a strategy to find a job. They can assist you with:

•career counseling
•internships
•job placement
•volunteer opportunities
•resume and cover letter preparation
•interview skills
•networking
•graduate school preparation

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