Congratulations on your first day of college! This is a momentous time for you and you should be proud, but now the real work begins. Freshman year is the best time to start building networks and to prepare for your future career in health. You don’t have to wait until your senior year to get started on this. Here are nine tips for landing your first internship:
College and entering the adult world can seem daunting, but my best advice is to learn how to relax and live in the moment. Your career won’t happen in a day. You will go through years of schooling and more years of training, so it’s important that you have patience and a level head as you go through the process. Landing an internship is competitive, but stressing about it will do absolutely nothing for you. Instead, learn to let go of the things you have no control over and focus on doing your best (and having a little fun) every day.
2. Schedule a Visit to Your College’s Career Services Center
Do this ASAP! Every college should have some form of a career development and internship office. Sign up for their e-newsletter and get notifications for upcoming job fairs and open positions. Some college career offices will host events such as how to create an effective resume or tips on interviewing. Attend those events! Your resume and interview skills will be crucial to landing your first internship and job. Take advantage of the free resources around you.
3. Join a Club
You can join your college’s public health club or you can join a rock climbing club, just join! Anyone will tell you that the most effective way to land an internship or job is via a referral from someone you know. So be social! Talk to as many people as possible about your goals because you never know who can help you. Joining a pre-professional club can connect you to people who are established in the industry you want to get into to. Find a way to help out in your club like becoming the secretary or handling a budget. If you give value, you will receive value in return.
Don’t slack off in your studies. A great G.P.A tells future employers that you are serious, self-motivated, and you can do the work put in front of you. Learn to develop solid study and note-taking skills in your freshmen year.
5. Attend Job Fairs and Networking Events
It might be intimidating as a freshman to attend career- related events, but now is not the time to be shy! Research the companies that will be attending the event and introduce yourself to them. Even if they do not currently have any internships for freshmen now, at least you will be aware of the organizations that are out there for when you are ready to apply.
While you wait for a position to line up for you, volunteering is a great way to serve your community and show the value you can offer to an organization.
7. Seek Out Mentorship
A big mistake college students make is thinking they have to have everything figured out on their own. Nothing could be further from the truth. College is a time to grow and ask questions from those you have done it already. Be open to sharing your concerns and questions with upperclassmen and professors. Learn to listen first before responding and follow their advice. You don’t have to go it alone.
8. Apply, Apply, Apply
There is no reward in life without risk. Winter break is a great time to start handing in applications. You can also email the human resources department at organizations you are interested and ask if they are hiring any interns for the spring or summer term. Get out there!
9. Join MyHealth Career Navigator!
Check out our many resources for college students and recent graduates including resume and cover letter help. Also, check out our job board and our summer internships and programs page for new opportunities.