Apr 082012
Authors: Erik Carman

For many students, finding summer jobs and internships can be stressful. Landing that internship can make or break a student’s summer, and it may sometimes seem arduous to separate oneself from the competition.

Luckily, professionals here at CSU have shared their advice on ways a student can distinguish themselves from others, and secure that often elusive position.

Dr. Elizabeth Williams, a professor of communication studies who teaches interviewing skills here at CSU, said students preparing to be interviewed for a job or internship should first do extensive research on the company.

“You should be prepared for an interviewer to ask, ‘What do you know about our company?’” Williams said.

Students should also engage in self-reflection and determine what they can offer the organization, what they hope to get out of the experience and what makes them different from other candidates, she added.

“Make sure you are able to frame your previous experiences so they illustrate what you can do for this organization,” Williams said. “Next, will you be a good fit for their culture? Especially in a time when there are more applicants than jobs, employers want to see that you will fit their organization.”

Williams stressed the importance of students bringing in their own questions to the interview.

“Remember, the interview is as much about you determining if the organization is a good fit as it is them determining if you are a good fit,” she said. “Ask relevant questions.”

Williams also emphasized the necessity of practicing mock interviews and seeking multiple sources for feedback on resumes and cover letters.

Here at CSU, professionals are already prepared and willing to assist students with securing career opportunities, said Summer Shaffer, the associate director for Communication and Outreach at the Career Center.

“We like to give students the tools to be successful,” Shaffer said.

At the Career Center, students can practice mock interviews with advisors, have a resume critiqued by a trained professional and receive advice on internship and career opportunities, Shaffer said.

She added that the career center also has a drop-in office in the student center where students can obtain advice and have their resume critiqued.

“No appointment is necessary,” she said, “All of us here have been trained to do resume critiques.”

The Career Center is a resource that students are already paying for with their student fees, Shaffer added, so students should utilize the resources.

Katrina Redding, a senior interior design major and intern at the Career Center, said the resources provided by them have been invaluable to her.

“I’ve done several mock interviews,” Redding said. “They [the counselor] record the interview and will watch it with you to critique bad habits”

Redding also stated that online resources, such as CareerRam on the Career Center’s website and careershift.com, can be very helpful in finding an employer.

Ben Wurzel, a career counselor at the Career Center and a current CSU graduate student in student affairs and higher education, said the most important thing a student can do in trying to find an internship or job is networking.

“Get out there and meet people,” Wurzel said. “You should always be building your professional network.”

Wurzel added that, even if it seems late in the semester, a student can still secure a summer position.

“Don’t be discouraged,” he said. “Keep networking, you can still land a great summer internship.”

And for students who are preparing for an upcoming interview, Professor Williams said following up is essential.

“A hand-written thank you note should be sent immediately after the interview,” Williams said. “An email thank you is nice, but a hand-written note will make you stand out.”

Collegian writer Erik Carman can be reached at news@collegian.com

How to ace that interview and get your dream internship
-Research the organization before an interview; be prepared to explain what you can offer them and how your experience is relevant.
-Prepare questions for the interviewer and make sure the organization is a good fit for you.
Visit the Career Center in the Lory Student Center for help with your resume, career counseling and interviewing practice.
-Utilize the online tools at http://career.colostate.edu.
-Always follow up an interview with a hand-written thank you note.

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