Where to Start
I was interested in doing an internship after my sophomore year, but I had no idea how to get started. I wasn’t sure which companies to look for or even the best way to find them. I decided to set up a meeting with the career specialist who had me make a detailed list of my different skills and past work experiences. After that, he spent an hour with me (if not more) developing and structuring a professional resume based on my list.
Applying for Every Opportunity
After that, I applied to every opportunity I qualified for on Golden Opportunities. But it wasn’t until I attended the career fair that I really got a feel for what type of company I wanted to intern for. There, you get the chance to shake hands with real people from each company and get an idea which ones would be a good fit. It was nerve racking. With no prior job experience, I didn’t know what was expected of me or if I could handle the work that I would be given. I can confidently say (now), that The University of Tulsa prepares you for those types of internships.
At the career fair, I came across Phillips 66, where I had applied online. I walked up to them, introduced myself, and presented my newly drafted resume. From that interaction, they gave me the opportunity to interview with them, which then led to a great internship.
Top Three Must-Haves for Narrowing Down Opportunities
When it came time to narrow down opportunities, I had three “must-haves” when evaluating a company.
- Number One: It had to be a place I could see myself working post-graduation. The purpose of an internship is to help prepare you, get your foot in the door and give you opportunities for jobs that you actually want.
- Number Two: It had to have a solid workplace culture. You want a place where people work collaboratively together to get tasks accomplished. Phillips 66 had that, which is why they were high on my list.
- Number Three: It had to be an internship that could improve my technical skills. I studied electrical engineering, so I was looking for a place where I could utilize the things I had learned in a real-world experience.
Making a Decision
I’m not active on social media, and because of that, word-of-mouth heavily influenced my decision-making process. All anyone is talking about the first week of school is their summer experiences, of which most consisted of internships. You learn a lot about the companies and their intern programs by listening to the experiences of others. Word-of-mouth was a key factor in my decision.
I highly recommend students utilize the Career Services offices. Setting that meeting with a career specialist was by far one of the best decisions I made. It is a great resource to utilize and can help point you in the right direction. Get your resume done, attend the career fair and network as much as you can with the company you’re interested in outside the career fair.