Sharing My Mistakes: How to Have an Easier Internship Search
As you enter your senior year as a Psychology major at Arcadia, you get to choose between doing research or an internship. I chose the latter and got an internship with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as a Research Assistant. I assist the research team with such tasks as creating/transporting materials and data entry, while also getting experience with applications of clinical psychology through interventions that are used in the study.
Even though internships are (for some) most important during your senior year, jumping in earlier is even better. Internships allow you the chance to get experience in your field of interest and learn more about what you want to do with your career in the future. I was successful in my internship search – and admittedly very lucky – but I also made a lot of mistakes when trying to find one. I’ll be talking about my mistakes to hopefully help other students not make the same ones that I did.
I took too long to seriously start my search.
During your junior year, you will be told to start looking at internships through a series of assignments. I did the bare minimum that I needed to do for the assignments, but I was not actually starting my search. This made it harder for me later on because I’d missed a lot of deadlines for applications and had to search even more for ones that were still accepting applications. To avoid this, when doing your internship search, start early! Whether or not you are doing your search because of assignments, be thorough with your search and pay attention to due dates. You aren’t the only one looking so assume you have competition.
I didn’t have my application materials ready for submission.
For most, if not all, applications, you will generally need a resume and a cover letter. I had a resume that was poorly constructed. I started to work on my resume only after I found places to apply. I didn’t even know where to start with my cover letter! I had to scour websites and ask friends and family for advice. I advise you to work on your resume ahead of time, instead of just when it is needed. Also, be sure to know how to write a cover letter. If you don’t, there are resources at Arcadia, which I will cover next.
I didn’t properly take advantage of the resources that I had available to me.
Even though I had a great advisor and professors whom I could have asked for help, I didn’t really do that. Instead I struggled for a few weeks before giving up and asking. This was a terrible choice because they have been helping students for years and they would’ve been able to help me, too, if I would have approached them sooner. Another resource that I underutilized was the Officer of Career Education, or the OCE, for short. They use Handshake, and there you can book appointments for various career-related needs, including personalized advice. Look at the written resources they have available and find career-related events to attend. Finally, it may not seem like it, but the organizations that you are submitting your applications to are a resource as well. If they feel you are not a fit for them, ask them if they know of places where they think you would be (this is actually how I got my internship!).
I hope these tips will help make your search smoother than mine was. Good luck!