With career events like the Internship and Co-Op Fair, Careers for the Common Good Fair and the 2018 School of Engineering Career Fair fast approaching, students attended Finding an Internship or Co-Op this past Wednesday in hopes of learning the secrets to finding and applying for jobs. The event was presented by Ana Clara Blesso, the Assistant Director of Experimental Learning for the Center For Career Development here at the University of Connecticut.
The presentation began with Blesso addressing the difference between an internship and a co-op. According to Blesso, an internship is more short-term—usually lasting only one semester or during the summer—while a co-op typically lasts between four to six months. A co-op is more like a full-time job, usually around 35 hours a week while internship hours can vary greatly. “Think of an internship as the world longest job interview,” said Blesso.
After students were given a basic understanding of what they were applying to, Blesso described the application process itself. Applicants will need materials like a resume, cover letter, transcripts, letters of recommendation, references and writing samples. Blesso stressed the importance of including a cover letter, comparing handing in a resume without a cover letter to going outside with one shoe on.
It is important that your application materials, according to Blesso, are tailored to the individual company. One tip she shared with students is including some of the wording from the job description in your materials “use the language in the posting exactly as they have it,” said Blesso. She stressed that this would help students who apply for jobs that use the software Applicant Tracking System, which may automatically search applications for those words and phrases.
Tailoring an application does not stop at including specific language, as Blesso suggested that applicants tailor their resume for the specific job that they are applying for. She showed everyone in attendance two resumes for the same person, one was tailored, one was not. Blesso was quick to note the specific changes that made the resume specific for the company, including the reorganization of experiences and the bolding of section headers.
“I had always known that you kind of need to tailor your resume and cover letter, but I never really knew exactly what that meant and how to appeal to an employer,” said fourth-semester biomedical engineering major Catriana Hersey, “so I thought that was really helpful.”
For many students, actually finding an internship or job opportunity can be an incredibly arduous task. Blesso recommended using online search engines, company websites, career fairs and network connections. Two of the most valuable tools that a UConn student might have at their disposal are the Husky Career Link and the website for the Center for Career Development. Blesso was sure to pull up both of these sites and walked students through the best ways to locate an internship or job.
After the application is sent in, applicants should follow up approximately two weeks after applying. Blesso suggested that those in search of a job do not stop applying until they have a formal offer, and that it was completely normal to get rejected by a company or receive no response at all.
Finally, Blesso gave students helpful tips for the upcoming Career/Internship Fairs. She suggested that students do their research ahead of time to see who will be there, and to come prepared with a polished resume. While Blesso suggested coming prepared ready to talk to potential employers, she was sure to remind students to know their limits “If you know you’re not going to be your best self-talking to 22 employers, don’t do it.” Said Blesso.
Christina Harrick, a fifth semester psychology major, was a transfer student. She also took a semester off from school, and attended this event hoping to stay on track for life after college “I feel kind of behind, and a lot of my friends are getting internship offers and going on interviews I feel like just a general google search hasn’t been able to help me that much.”
The 2018 Internship and Co-Op Fair will take place on Feb. 7 in the Student Union.
Lauren Brown is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.