For many students, right now is crunch time to find an internship for the summer. I have had a few great internships during my time at MSU and here is how I got each of them.
Knock on Doors – Diebold Inc.
In an attempt to find a job near my girlfriend’s hometown, I printed out a stack of resumés and put on my nicest shirt. At the time I was a sophomore and had very little relevant experience. My approach was to knock on doors. I walked into over a dozen businesses in the Akron-Canton, OH area and handed out as many resumés as the receptionists were willing to take.
After a few days I followed up with each place and was gently let down by all but two companies. It took another few week before Diebold called me for an impromptu phone interview. I was ready! I made sure to research the companies that were still considering me (or at least hadn’t turned me down yet). Days later, I had an offer to intern in the exact department I was hoping for.
Be bold and confident. Also, knowing the name of anyone at the company can be very helpful when attempting to bypass gatekeepers.
Career Fair – PepsiCo.
This one is a bit cliché, but it has earned its place. My suggestion is to pick about five companies that you would love to work for and research them before you head to the fair. Spend the first few interactions breaking the ice with companies not fortunate enough to make your list. Then, focus on the top 5 contenders. Remember, they want to hire you. Having a clever “one liner” may also set you apart. I usually explained how I love to work hard and “would rather be busy than bored.” It helps to speak their language.
Be friendly. After I hit it off with a recruiter, I was granted a follow up interview. This helped me score an amazing internship with PepsiCo at a Gatorade location out in Phoenix, AZ. That finally led to a full-time job with them.
Use a Middleman – Canada Dry Lansing.
In an attempt to find a relevant part-time job to work during my senior year, I stumbled upon CDry Lansing. I noticed that it was a fairly small company. That is when I decided to reach out to my academic adviser. She was able to contact CDry and deliver my resume to them. Despite the fact that they were not looking for an intern, they agreed to interview me.
My experience at PepsiCo – Gatorade undoubtably helped get me in the door. I had landed the job before I left their office.
Every one of these internships helped me get the next one. Gaining relevant experience is crucial to landing the job you want. Keep your eye on the prize and get after it!
-Michael J. Flora