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Scoring a summer internship

Green trees and blue-and-gold banners line UNC's campus in the summer

Shayna Dix
April 26, 2018

The snow is melting, the pools are being uncovered, and the seasonal positions are open! You might think that scoring a summer job is crazy hard. Afterall, landing a job during school is no picnic with all the competition college towns provide. But when you're in college and looking for a job or internship, you have an office specifically designed to help you: Center for Career Readiness. 

At the University of Northern Colorado, Center for Career Readiness provides students with career advice year-round, helping students score jobs and internships during and after college. We spoke with the director of UNC's Center for Career Readiness for advice that will help you present your best self in the ever-changing job market. 


How can a student find summer internships in their area?

I’d first recommend a student look for an internship using their campus' online job portal. At UNC, that's called your Handshake account. Since July 2017, there have been around 3,000 internships posted for UNC students to apply for.

Then, if a student isn’t finding an internship they are looking for, I’d recommend they schedule an internship searching appointment with a career counselor. As an addition to searching for internships online, there are other strategies we’d want a student to consider when searching for internships. Students who are taking internships for credit will also need to connect with their academic advisor or internship coordinator within their major to learn more about the process to take an internship for academic credit.

What can make them a stronger candidate?

Employers are seeking students who have career readiness skills as described here

What are some good interview tips?

We’ve compiled interviewing tips and resources here.

How do you make yourself more competitive?

This depends on the internship. Ideally, a student would have all of the minimum and preferred qualifications that an employer is seeking, and this will vary from job to job.

Is it better to find seasonal work or year-round jobs?

I don’t have an evidenced-based answer for this question. I do, however, never want a student to undervalue the benefits they gain from part-time and on-campus employment. Students are always gaining skills no matter the type of work they are doing.

What do you want to look for in a job?

I’d want a student to look to see if the job or internship aligns with their interests, strengths and values. We hope students have an opportunity to explore meaningful work in which they are engaged and using their strengths to do work that is important to them. Each person is unique; therefore, what a person is looking for in a internship or job will be unique. 

Where can you find resources to further your chances?

I’d recommend students connect with their Center for Career Readiness office. Let a career counselor look over your resume and cover letter to increase the chances that your resume will resonate well with a potential employer and increase the chances that you’ll land an interview with the employer. Then, practice an interview with a career counselor to increase the chances that you’ll land the job after rockin’ the interview. 

For more information on UNC's Center for Career Readiness, check out their website.

This email interview has been lightly edited.