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Dear Alumni: I’m struggling to find internship opportunities for the summer. I have previous work experience, and a resume ready. My issue is mostly with connections and knowing where to look. What are steps I can take to help me get on the right path? What did you do at my age? Edisson, Sophomore, Business
The best advice I can give you now that I didn’t have at that age is this: Your LinkedIn profile is your resume in 2018 and for the foreseeable future. Yes, you should still have your Microsoft Word or PDF resume, but recruiters these days are especially keen to look at your LinkedIn presence. Also most modern companies (esp. tech) allow you to simply link to your LinkedIn Profile webpage/URL. This helps tons when you are applying for a variety of internships. Also (and I cannot emphasize this enough), take advantage of LinkedIn job searching functionality. It allows you to see opportunities in companies that you have connections with in your network, and apply immediately with your LinkedIn profile, and often an additional Cover Letter. The powers of LinkedIn to get yourself the right internship or job cannot be underestimated!!
Hi Edisson: First off, I want to commend you for trying to get some work experience over the summer. I know it can be difficult, but be persistent. My experience has been that the way you make connections and know where to look is by getting out there shaking some hands. There were many times when I was in law school that I went to different events where I knew attorneys would be present. I’d put on my best suit, bring some resumes, and talk to anyone who would give me their time. It was from those experiences that I began making connections and figured out where to go look for jobs. I’m not sure what kind of work you are looking for, but see if you can’t find a meeting or convention taking place in the field you are interested in. Show up, look nice, and have some resumes handy. I know doing that can be intimidating, but I’ve had my best experiences in situations such as this. Best of luck to you!
Edisson, What are you passionate about (outside of just wanting to be an entrepreneur)? Politics? Art? Writing? Music? Sports? Faith? Or what? It’s extremely valuable to keep your future career in mind and to prepare for it. But the majority of your time in college should be about pursuing the things you love for their own sake (not to necessarily get you to the next stepping stone). That’s what the “liberal” (meaning “free”) means in “liberal education” or “liberal arts”… you are “free” to pursue a passion for its own sake, not for the sake of making money, getting a job, etc. Ultimately, if you become an entrepreneur, there will always be someone better at a business or skill than you are. What will separate you from the pack is your passion/love for an industry, hobby, or art that drives you to continue pursuing a cause even when those better than you have given up. Think about how you’d ideally want to spend your summer. Then get back to us and we will try to help connect you to those that can help make that a reality. Peace, Killian Beeler, BA ’15
Hi Edisson, First, I would start with what you’re interested in and check out industry leaders. Most large companies will list internship opportunities on their websites. Another great starting place is employers in your desired location. If you’re looking to stay in Dallas, look at companies like USAA, Frito-Lay, or HP. See what looks interesting and go from there. Next year, I’d recommend starting your search in the first semester. Some employers, like Southwest Airlines, close their pipeline in November or December for the summer internship spots. Searching early will give you a chance to see what else is out there. Hope this helps! -Victoria, Class of 2013
I never messed around with internships because I was an English major, but you can make use of technological advances that did not exist when I was a student – you have access to websites and search engines. You have the world at your fingertips – your only limitations are your imagination and ambition. When I was a student, I went back home (Iowa, then later, Kentucky) for breaks in the academic year. I did seasonal agricultural work (working in the cornfields of Iowa) because I’d been doing that every summer since junior high. After my family relocated to Kentucky, that employment opportunity was no longer an option, so I looked elsewhere. I ended up as a night clerk in a convenience store. Not glamorous work, to be sure, but it kept me paid and I met a lot of interesting people. Big box retailers are always hiring. Fast food restaurants are always hiring. In spite of unemployment figures, there are plenty of jobs out there. Construction work is always an option, too, minimal experience required and you learn new skills. Don’t be afraid to take a job doing manual labor – you may discover that you have a knack for building things and can then develop an avenue in which to apply your business education. I studied English at UD and now I build rockets. Not much correlation between my chosen field of study and eventual career, so don’t discount stepping outside your comfort zone and maybe generating some sweat equity.
Edisson, Networking is the best place to start. Talk to your friends who work at companies you are interested in. Try to schedule “informational interviews” with leaders and HR in those companies. Also, use the career services at UD. They have connections to companies and can help get you in touch with places if there are not any specific internships they are currently aware of. Also, got to meetings, meet-up groups that focus on the area you want to intern in. You can just do a search online and a few events will likely pop-up. Good luck! Todd
Hi Edisson! You likely have connections you are unaware of! Speak with your professors and advisor. They often have connections in the field and can point you in the right direction. Consult the Career Services office as well; they have information about internship opportunities as well. Consider options outside of your comfort zone too–out of state or in an area that may not be your first choice. Often the experience will prove valuable and may result in new connections in your field of choice! Best of luck! Rachel
University of Dallas junior Elisa Ron (Politics & Economics) will have a unique opportunity to cultivate her fascination with international politics this summer. She’ll travel to London in May to take part in the Summer 2018 Hansard Society Scholars programme. This prestigious program includes a course in taught in conjunction with the London School of Economics and an internship in research, government or journalism in London.
Ron said that after returning from Rome, she knew she wanted to go back abroad. “I’m really looking forward to interacting with new people,” she said. “It’s a great chance to get out of my bubble.”
The Hansard programme application required Ron to submit a writing sample, a personal statement and two letters of recommendation. She said that she thought her semester in Rome may have been one factor that made her application competitive.
While Ron is still waiting for confirmation on where she’ll be placed, her first choice would be to work as an intern in research or at a think tank focusing on international affairs. Her second choice is to work in the British Parliament, and her third choice would be a journalism internship.
Ron believes that completing an internship abroad will undoubtedly bolster her resume. “Having work experience abroad tells future employers that I’m not just a tourist,” she said. Ron’s goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in International Comparative Politics.
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Teresa Haney (Politics ’19) and Maureen O’Toole (Politics, ’19) are back at the University of Dallas for a after spending the fall semester as interns for the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. And they both say there’s no doubt that their experiences will have positive effects on their futures.
Although Haney and O’Toole had different jobs in service to the embassy, both were surprised at how much responsibility and autonomy they were given as interns. Haney, who worked in Foreign Service, said that she was never given menial tasks. “I had to make briefing checklists, write biographies of visiting dignitaries, and research talking points on important issues,” she said. And although these tasks seemed daunting at first, Haney said that knowing she had the support of the Foreign Service team built her confidence. “I basically just figured out what to do,” she said. Haney felt that because her supervisors trusted her with important tasks, they were showing their confidence in her abilities. “It’s like they were saying, ‘We know you can do this.’”
O’Toole worked on social media at the embassy and learned that State Department writing follows its own particular style. “It’s very important to be clear and thorough. Although you’re not necessarily trying to prove a point, your writing must still be able to draw readers in,” she said. One of the highlights of O’Toole’s semester was working on a diplomatic dinner for seven U.S. Senators and their wives, including Texas Senator John Cornyn. While working on this event, O’Toole had the privilege of meeting Pope Francis.
Both women agreed that the internships provided them with deep experience that will inform their future career decisions. “Being in the Foreign Service really opened my eyes to many issues that the world is facing,” Haney said. When asked if she would recommend that other students consider interning abroad, O’Toole said, “I would definitely say go for it. I have no regrets.”
For more information on internships or to make an appointment with a career adviser, click here.