How to Secure a Credit Internship (Resumes, Interviews, and Other Nuisances)

Welcome to the 2nd post in our 4 part series on Cornell University’s Academic Credit Internships! If you’re interested in reading the first post, which explains what the first 5 things a Cornell student needs to do to get on track for participating in a credit internship, click on any word in this sentence. Not this sentence. Or this one. They will send you to…well, I actually don’t know. Good luck.

In any case, as promised, here are some tips on how to secure a credit internship after you have already applied to a credit internship program with Cornell:

  1. Read up on your internship postings. If you have been accepted by your college into their credit internship program, then your next step will to be to apply to specific internship opportunities at participating organizations. Typically, you will be informed by the program coordinator about how to view the internship postings for your credit internship program. Alternatively, you can look for internship posting on CCNet, a job posting forum available to Cornell students. You can also look on the career websites of organizations you are particularly interested in to see if they offer internship opportunities and discuss with your program coordinator if you can pursue those opportunities through an independent credit internship. These internship postings will state the qualifications you will need to apply, including minimum GPA levels, class years, and application procedures. Review these requirements carefully and make sure you understand all the steps you must take to apply completely for the position. Additionally, save a copy of the internship description, which typically contains expected responsibilities for the accepted intern. It will be useful to you later.
  2. Compose a resume and cover letter. The dreaded act of writing up a resume and cover letter is next. If you are not skilled at this mind numbing task, then consider going to on-campus events tailored to helping Cornell student perfect their resumes. For example, in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations, you can attend Resumaniacs, a regular event which occurs each semester in which Cornell representatives from the Office of Career Services critique your resume. You can also use OptimalResume, an online service which provides templates of resumes and cover letters which you can then customize and convert to other file formats. Additionally, you can pick up some informational publications at any of the Cornell libraries or your college’s Office of Career Services. I personally use a magazine I got my first year in ILR that contains a bunch of sample resumes, cover letters, and interview advice. However, you should pursue an array of options to find out what works for you.A quick tip: don’t try to make one general resume for all your internship applications. Customize your resume for the specific position you are applying for. Emphasize aspects of your work history which demonstrate your capacity to perform the specific responsibilities mentioned in the organization’s internship post. If all else fails and you are still unsure of your resume’s quality, go to your Office of Career Services and ask for some advice.
  3. Rock that interview! More often that not, if your resume piques the interest of a recruiter, they will want to interview you before offering you a position. This interview may be done in-person, via phone, or via video-chat (Skype, Google Chat, etc.). Preparing for the interview will be similar to preparing your resume. Again, you can attend on-campus events to practice your interview skills, and you can apply tips learned from Cornell’s related publications and representatives from the Office of Career Services. Most importantly, set yourself up for success by reviewing the job posting, preparing some answers for common or expected interview questions, and dressing well. Don’t be afraid to ask for a different date if the original date a recruiter asks to have their interview coincides with an exam date or other busy day in your schedule! So long as you ask them politely from the get-go, you will most likely be accommodated and can be more at ease for your interview. Just don’t abuse their generosity; show up on the date and time you agreed upon!
  4. Follow-up! Do it! Throughout the entire process, you should be following up with the recruiter of the organization for which you want to intern and to the director of your college’s credit internship program. Whenever you complete a new step in the process, send an email to these individuals to let them know you’re on track and still enthusiastic about the opportunity. For example, after your interview, you should thank whomever interviewed you for taking the time out of their day to talk with you. You should also let the director of your internship program know that you have been interviewed. These follow-ups are also helpful when you have questions or want to ensure you are doing things correctly. In addition, they can inform you of new opportunities they think you should apply for in the future…but only if you have communicated your interests clearly and have developed a good relationship with them!
  5. Rinse & Repeat. Make sure you continue to apply to new and relevant positions even as you are processing applications, submitting resumes, and completing interviews for desired internships. Not only will you get more experience (which will help you with applying for jobs later on), but you will increase your probability of getting chosen for an internship. However, once you have accepted a position, be sure to follow-up with all the other organizations for which you have applied to positions. Let them know you’re off the market. Otherwise, you will make enemies where enemies need not be made. Also let the director of your credit internship program know whenever you apply for a new position or when you accept an internship. They can then tailor their suggestions for future internships according to your past decisions, and they can inform other students who applied for whatever position you accept that they didn’t make the cut.

And there you have it. Hopefully these 5 tips were helpful, albeit general. As you follow these steps, be sure to check some of my later posts on how to apply for Cornell’s credit internship programs. I promise there will be at least one helpful tip in all that text; there is, after all, so much text.

So, you want a credit internship…
The 5 Questions I Asked At Least 15 Times Before Getting a Credit Internship (Coming Soon!)
The 5 Answers I Had To Give At Least 15 Times Before Getting a Credit Internship (Coming Soon!)
The Don’t-Forget List for After You’ve Gotten a Credit Internship (Coming Soon!)

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