The search for the perfect internship

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BCDC picRight now, many Batesies are extremely busy, and not from midterms. Rather, students are preoccupied with finalizing their summer plans. For college students, February marks the height of the summer internship search process. Students pour over ads in pursuit of an internship that could lead to a job offer or shed light on a possible career option. So how do you secure the right internship for you?

First, the Bates Career Development Center (BCDC) is a pivotal resource for students looking for internships or jobs.

From September 1st to November 30th the BCDC saw 520 students in appointments and had 781 students attend workshops and information sessions. Taking advantage of the BCDC will not only make your search more successful, but it will also make your search far more enjoyable.

For instance, the Career Development Fellows Program is one of the BCDC’s many career and internship resources. This program primarily offers students peer review on internship and job application materials.

“Career Development Fellows are best for quick resume and cover letter reviews or other quick questions on Jobcat navigation or setting up a LinkedIn profile,” said David McDonough, new director of the BCDC.

The Fellows are dedicated to helping their peers navigate the often frustrating process of securing an internship or job.

“I decided to become a Career Development Fellow my junior year after spending a summer in New York City working for a Think Tank Policy organization called the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network. Before I got that internship, I was already helping my peers look for internships and jobs that they might be interested in for the summer. Once there was an opportunity to do a much larger outreach at Bates I took it!” said senior Raina Jacques, one of this year’s seven Career Development Fellows.

Students interested in consulting with a Fellow should take advantage of walk-in hours. The Fellows have walk-in hours Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the BCDC and Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the library outside of the Peer Writing Center. Jacques also welcomes walk-ins on Thursdays, upstairs in the Office of Intercultural Education (OIE).

The Fellows are just one of the resources offered by the BCDC. Many additional options exist.

“The Career Development Center makes an overall effort to put things in place for students to meet all of their needs. Mock interviews are available for practice, employers come on campus to recruit Batesies specifically and there are so many networking opportunities through alumni outreach,” said Jacques.

Specifically, students are advised to meet with a professional counselor. Also, students should check out online resources. Currently there are 162 internships posted on Jobcat and 2401 internships posted on the Liberal Arts Career Network. McDonough suggests students apply to at least eight internships to maximize their chances of landing an internship.

In addition, the BCDC also offers several services that students may not be aware of. For example, Bates now has an internship-for-credit program.

“We have made some changes and additions to the website http://www.bates.edu/career/ which will give students an overview of resources and services offered. We offer self-assessment (Strong Interest Inventory), downloadable career guides from Vault.com, career advice videos throughout the site and a great new practice interview site called IntervewStream,” said McDonough.

However, one of the most determinate factors of internship and job success is the student’s initiative. Batesies are encouraged to remain active in the search process.

“I would encourage students to start looking for internships now and to keep an open mind about the internships they are applying for. Internships are all about career exploration so students should look into industries that interest them but not be afraid to explore jobs/internships that do not seem to ‘fit’ with their major,” said Valerie Jarvis ‘13, a Career Development Fellow.

Internships are especially important in today’s job-market, which stresses practical experience as an indicator of future success.

“Real world experience is highly valued by future employers and can help you establish a network of contacts within your intended industry. Many employers are using the internship as a three month interview process – it has become increasingly common for employers to offer permanent position to former interns,” said McDonough.

So how do you secure that perfect internship? Taking advantage of the Career Development Fellows Program and the profusion of other resources available through the BCDC is an excellent start. Also, remaining proactive and open-minded throughout the search process is crucial. The perfect internship is out there but it requires an informed, active search process.

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