It is not uncommon this time of year to hear students discussing the stress they are encountering in their quest to obtain that oh-so-elusive summer internship. With tips from Temple University’s Career Development Services and the Writing Center, students can be rest assured that the process isn’t as strenuous as they might think.
Director of CDS Chet Rispoli said that internships can provide students with the most valuable learning experience they will ever encounter.
The first step in obtaining a summer internship is performing a self-assessment where students identify their goals, values and skills, thus narrowing the field of job possibilities.
The CDS office offers a computerized program called DISCOVER that helps students with their self-assessment process. The program, which creates a profile by asking a series of questions, is available for any student to use. Once a student completes this process, they should see a career counselor who will then help them interpret the data and give advice about what opportunities to pursue.
Once a student completes the self-assessment process and explores job opportunities, he or she can submit a résumé to employers who offer internships of interest.
While Rispoli said that a job interview is perhaps the most important aspect of gaining a summer internship, students should not underestimate the value of a résumé.
“Nobody ever gets a job offer from a résumé, but most people get eliminated. Probably 95-98 percent of the people who are seeking jobs get eliminated on paper,” Rispoli said.
CDS offers in-office workshops once per week that deal with a variety of career development issues, including résumé critiques. CDS representatives also venture into classrooms and dormitories to hold these workshops.
Students can go to the CDS office at any time and make use of the Service’s express counselor who will answer on-the-spot questions on just about anything, including summer internships.
Temple’s Writing Center also offers résumé workshops at the request of any Temple group or organization. Eric Emenheiser, who leads these workshops, said that he does not critique personal résumés, but helps students fully understand cover letters and résumés.
“I do not focus on making better résumés … I focus on making better and more informed résumé writers. I seek to facilitate personal development, growth and understanding of the art of writing a résumé,” Emenheiser said.
After sending out a résumé, a personal interview could be the next step toward employment. Rispoli warns students to be aware that phone screening is becoming popular among employers.
This occurs when an employer makes an unannounced phone call and asks job-related questions. Rispoli advises students to be prepared for this screening in order to avoid elimination as a personal interview candidate.
During a personal interview, students need to be equipped with several key elements. Rispoli said a student should research the company and be prepared to ask questions. CDS helps students prepare for this process by offering mock interviews and providing students with a sheet of questions to ask employers.
The most important aspect of the one-on-one interview, Rispoli said, is “résumé defense.”
“Something on your résumé got you the interview, but you don’t know what it is … The best way to prepare for an interview is to assume everything on the résumé is subject to discussion. You should have a story to tell about everything on there,” Rispoli said.
Rispoli said that self-assessment, exploring job options and marketing oneself are all key roles in obtaining a summer internship, but the real test comes down to the personal interview.
“How you present yourself in an interview is going to determine whether or not you’ll get the job offer. There’s no question about that, but you’ve got to get to that point,” said Rispoli.
CDS will be hosting a summer job fair April 3 in the Student Center, room 301/302, from noon to 3 p.m. Check the CDS Web site at temple.edu/careerdev for more information.
Alix Gerz can be reached at email@example.com