Helping students land the right STEM internship

However you discovered them, go first to your favorite place and see if they are offering any internship positions. Even if they are not publicly advertising them, there may be opportunities for you. Pick up the phone or visit the office in person and introduce yourself, leave an resume, and make yourself available to them.

If you don’t have a specific internship in mind, there are many resources available to you online to help you narrow down your choices. Search online for information on available internships, deadlines for application, qualifications, and more.

Talk to your professors, advisors and mentors about your search and ask them to point you in the right direction for any resources available on your campus, such as databases or aggregate lists of STEM internships.

You probably won’t be offered the first internship you apply for so cast a wide net. You may even find that you get to pick your preferred placement if you’ve lined up plenty of options.

Once you get an interview take time to prepare. You want to put your very best foot forward. Show them that you have done your research and understand what they are about. Tell them how an experience with them will align with your future career goals. Don’t leave it up to them to guess; make it explicit.

Bring a list of questions about the company or the position that demonstrate you understand the company’s purpose and how you might fit into the equation. Don’t make money the primary conversation piece. If you want to make loads of money over the summer an internship is probably not for you.

Remember that you are giving a great deal of your time and energy in exchange for experience, connections, and references that will better serve you in the long run than a higher wage will serve you now.

Karen Purcell, P.E. is the founder, owner, and president of PK Electrical, an award-winning electrical engineering, design and consulting firm, which handles public and private sector work ranging from $5000 to $76,000,000.

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