Sometimes, it can be difficult to prioritize getting a job or internship when you’re already doing so much, like juggling classes, clubs, and generally being a busy Bentley student. Until the stress of realizing that you may be at college with an objective to get a job kicks in and the motivation to get those applications in goes way up. While this stress can occur at any point in your college career, there are definitely differences in how sophomores and juniors should handle the job search.
-Sophomore Internship Search-
As a Sophomore, it is likely that you haven’t yet had an internship experience, which is actually the norm for second-year college students. Coming to college is a huge adjustment, but by sophomore year, you have knowledge of most campus dynamics. You’ve let the information from CDI101 absorb. You know a little bit more about what you might want to pursue an internship or for your career. Maybe you know your major and maybe you still aren’t sure! All of this uncertainty is part of the sophomore internship search experience.
What you should do:
- Attend as many employer events as possible!
- Seriously, take advantage of these opportunities to network early in your sophomore year. Not only will these events get your name out to recruiters and give companies evidence that you are showing interest, but they also have the potential to improve your interpersonal skills. Additionally, through observation, you can decide whether you could see yourself at one of these companies, whether it’s for an internship or a full-time role.
- Start thinking about what jobs and industries you would like to explore before you graduate.
- Make a list or start considering what industries and job functions you find interesting. Pay attention to what classes you enjoy. Talk to professors about their work experiences or ask upperclassmen about internships they have pursued. You cannot possibly sufficiently research everything, so make sure to utilize the experiences of those around you in the Bentley network!
- Finetune your application documents and start applying.
- Make sure your resume, cover letters, transcript, references, letters of recommendation, and anything else that you would like to submit are in good shape. Estimate how much time you would like to dedicate to applications and then add more because applications can often take much longer than you think. Spend a lot of time on this! You likely will not hear back from many of the companies you apply to, so you want to maximize your chances of getting an interview with at least several companies.
What you shouldn’t do:
- Stress about finding an internship that will take you to your first full-time job.
- Sophomore year is not about finding a future full-time job. If you figure out what you maybe want to do with your life after graduation, that’s a really good start. If you have not yet an internship, it is a different experience than a part-time job or your Bentley classes. There is definitely a chance that you fall in love with the company, come back next summer for another internship with them, and land a full-time job. However, most students don’t have such a clear career path and it should not be expected. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, even though you’re a high-achieving Falcon!
- Get discouraged!
- It’s difficult to get an internship! It’s even more difficult when you’re a Sophomore, due to the innate disadvantage of you having fewer classes and work experiences under your belt. It’s difficult to keep putting time into applying when there’s not a significant return, but unfortunately, this is a reality of the job-seeking process. Don’t lose hope and continue to apply.
-Junior Internship Search-
As a Junior, you may feel a little bit more pressure in both your course load and your internship search. At this point, most individuals have declared their majors and have a better understanding of what job and industry they want to end up in. If you are coming out of an internship experience, this is the time to reflect on it. What went well? What could have gone better? What skills did you learn and how are they relevant to what you want to pursue now? These questions, along with deeper ones that consider your personal motivations, can help you decide whether that internship aligns with your future career goals. If it does, you can look for similar experiences throughout the year. If not, you can go in a new direction!
What you should do:
- Create a list of target companies that you would like to apply to and begin the process.
- Recommended: Have a saved Excel sheet for all of the companies that you would like to get offers from, and update it anytime something changes. Had the first-round interview? Make sure to take a few notes on how it went and who you interviewed within your Excel sheet so that you can keep track of what you did, with who, and when.
- Network like crazy.
- This is the year you should be making phone calls and spending a lot more time on LinkedIn. You want connections that can vouch for you and know that you’re actively looking for an internship. There’s a big chance that an internship could turn into a full-time offer, which would be really nice going into senior year.
What you shouldn’t do:
- Expect an internship from a particular company.
- The worst thing that a Junior can do is limit themselves to one particular internship or company and slow down in their application processes. For many majors, the go-time is September to November for applications. For those interested in investment banking, it’s as early as a full year before the internship even starts. This means the processes are all relatively fast and many firms recruit on a rolling basis, meaning they may fill spots before you even have a chance to apply. Also, hiring processes are usually unpredictable, and if you think you are a shoo-in for a role, but you turn out not to be, you want to reduce the pain of that shock by making sure you have other options.
- Make rash decisions.
- If you get an internship offer as a Junior, you really need to weigh all of the options. If the internship is in a field or job function that you really have no interest in and do not want to pursue, you really have to see the benefits versus costs of the opportunity. In fact, the value of your time in this summer is huge, and you do not want to spend it playing the field if you have other, more relevant options that could be coming your way. Of course, having an internship is usually better than not having one, but typically, you don’t want to take an internship in something that you really don’t want. It’s not fair to you or the employer, so you really have to consider the consequences of such an action.
I hope this gets you to think about what your job search should consist of during your sophomore and junior years at Bentley!