I’m a junior majoring in Animal Science and Industry. I have applied to multiple internships and had many interviews but nobody has offered me an internship. I’m starting to get flustered because most positions in my field require some type of experience. I’m about to go into my senior year, and without internship experience – I’m very worried I won’t be able to find a job when I graduate.
Hi Kyle –
You are correct – employers really do value experience, so getting internships or other relevant experience is important. You are a junior, so you still have plenty of time to get the experience you need. Since I don’t know the details of your situation, let me share three typical reasons why students struggle when trying to get internships:
In most cases, employers recruit interns when they need interns, and they want intern candidates that have the qualifications necessary for their internships. So, if you were applying too early (before they were actively recruiting or before you had the necessary qualifications) or too late (after they had made hiring decisions), you probably were not considered.
What do your resume, cover letters and other internship search materials and activities say about you? Was your resume built off of a generic template, or is it a focused marketing document? Do you use the same cover letter over and over again, or do you craft unique letters for each application? How do you prepare for interviews? Do you just show up and wing it, or do you research the company and position prior to the interview? Candidates often hurt their chances of getting the job (or internship) by not investing enough time, effort and focused attention to the process. Bad marketing can kill a great product.
Location, Location, Location
For many positions, location is important. Want to work in film and entertainment? You’ll probably need to look in Los Angeles or New York. Want to work in marine biology? You’ll probably need to go to a coastal area or otherwise leave a land-locked state to find opportunity. Every city may need accountants, teachers, lawyers and sale representatives, but some positions are very location specific. Sometimes you have to go to where the opportunities are, because they are not going to come to you.
It’s not too late!
There are many factors that could be influencing your search for an internship, and the career advisors at your university can provide some excellent advice and assistance as you navigate your search. You are a junior right now; that means you have three windows of opportunity to get internship or other relevant experience before you graduate: The summer, the fall semester, and the spring semester. You have time!
If you can get internships, applied research experience, or relevant volunteer experience during two of those three periods, you will be able to graduate with your degree and two examples of how you applied your education and gained valuable experience in your field.
It’s the experience that matters most to employers, not whether that experience came from an internship, a job or some other activity.