by Heather Tranen, Associate Director
With winter safely behind us and the promise of summer within reach, it’s a happy time of year.
Many of you already secured your summer plans – congrats! For those of you still working on them, it’s important to stay positive and focused. That’s why I wanted to take a moment to debunk some myths that have the potential to slow you down and leave you feeling defeated during the internship search process.
MYTH 1: Everyone has an internship but me! Perhaps one of the most common myths, and it is definitely not true. In reality, it may feel like everyone and his or her first and second cousin all have internships. Keep in mind different industries have different hiring timelines. Try your best not to get discouraged. Ignore that pesky voice in your head that tells you that you’re alone in this process. Come get a pep talk from one of your trusty career advisers during walk-in hours. We’ll pull you out of your internship rut.
MYTH 2: PennLink is only for finance jobs. I invite you to try the Advanced Search function to learn how untrue this statement is. By searching through job function, you can see different jobs at a plethora of different organizations that are of interest to you. You can even set it up so that you get daily, weekly, or monthly email updates with relevant jobs.
PennLink still not for you? No worries. Our Resources by Career Field page, iNet, and other job search resources serve as additional ways to find the right opportunity for you.
MYTH 3: I applied to every job on the internet and no one called me for an interview. I doubt you applied to every job, but maybe you did. If that’s the case then it’s important to think about how you are marketing yourself through your resume, cover letter, and networking strategy. Are you targeting the right jobs for your skills, interests, and experiences? Self-assessment is key. Talking to a career advisor during an appointment and taking a career assessment like the MBTI or the Strong Interest Inventory is a great way to evaluate this.
MYTH 4: Alumni don’t want to hear from me. Networking is a key component to a successful internship search. If you were a professional who found great success in your career, wouldn’t you want to help someone in your situation? If you answered yes, then you are like the many Penn Alumni who would be more than happy to support you in your career development.
Use tools like QuakerNet and the LinkedIn Alumni Platform to target alums to reach out to for informational interviewing. Set a goal for how many alumni you will reach out to on a weekly basis. Informational interviews are a great way to expand your network, and uncover the hidden job market.
MYTH 5: If I don’t get an internship I’ll never get a full-time job. This is untrue! Employers like to see that you have transferable skills, and have a strong work ethic. This often comes in the form of volunteering, job shadowing, or simply by working in a part-time job. Attending industry-specific networking events, or joining professional associations is also a good way of staying productive and learning more about industries of interest to you. If you aren’t going the internship route this summer, doing something to stay productive is key.
I am sure you hear other myths like these on a regular basis. If you feel discouraged about your summer plans, reach out to us at Career Services, friends, family, professors, and anyone else you can go to for support!