March can often be the beginning of a stressful season of applying for internships and jobs. However, the Calling and Career Office (CCO) offers ample resources to ease your nerves.
Associate Dean of Calling and Career Jeff Aupperle provides tips for students researching internships and jobs.
If you feel lost in searching for internships, what can help bring more clarity?
A: “That’s where conversations with people are so important … The most productive conversations when you’re feeling lost (are) to get an idea of the kind of job that you might want to have in the future, and allow the Calling and Career Office to help you find someone who’s already doing that kind of work.”
How can you use networking to your advantage, and what ways can you network on the intern?
A: “Networking is critical I think for internships, because most often when students are seeking an internship, they don’t have very much professional experience yet. You’re not getting an internship because of your professional experience. Usually, the reason you get an internship is through a connection. Networking is really vital to getting those doors open.”
How can you apply what you learn in your internship to a job/career, even if it is different from what you planned?
A: “I actually think sometimes those are the best internships as far as an application is concerned. That’s why it’s really important to not just say, ‘My internship was terrible,’ but to actually pay attention to the specific things that you felt were terrible. The main advice I would give students who are even in a really bad internship is to pay attention to what makes it feel bad, and make sure you use that information for deciding your next steps in the future.”
If you do an internship/job for a secular company, how can you incorporate your faith in your work?
A: “Your faith is never going to be separated from you. You’re not going to turn the switch on or off because of the environment you’re in, so I think, especially if you’re in an environment where it feels adversarial or difficult, or you’re working with difficult people, or just the culture gets hard, your faith can become that foundation that helps you remember that you have something that transcends work.”
Once you’ve found a job/internship, are there any ways to prepare before the intern/job begins?
A: “The more information you can gather about the organization that you’ll be working for — their mission, their values, what matters to them — the better, because the sooner you can feel like you understand the bigger picture of what the organization that you’re working for is trying to accomplish, the more clarity you’ll have on the details.”
Any words of encouragement for students currently searching for internships?
A: “I would say don’t give up. If you’ve run into what feels like a dead end, that’s why the Calling and Career office is here … if all you’re doing is searching online for jobs and job boards and you’re not getting very much traction, that’s actually not very surprising (as) online job searches can be very frustrating. The connections are so important, and so be sure to utilize your own personal network, but also come into the CCO and let us help you access a wider network that can be a benefit for you.”
Whether it seems like there are too many or too few internship opportunities, internships offer valuable experiences. There is always something out there, and the CCO is a great place to start!