Meaningful work experience is key on any resume in today’s job market, and in “Scoring a Great Internship,” primary author Ellen Rubinstein and fellow student contributors offer tips, strategies and a step-by-step guide to help college students clinch the internship that is invariably necessary to secure a job after graduation.
“Scoring a Great Internship” treats readers as if they have never had an internship before. In fact, most students have. A June 2013 survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers finds that 63.2 percent of graduating seniors from the class of 2013 reported having taken part in an internship, co-operative position or both.
A student herself at Columbia University at the time of the book’s publication in 2002, Rubinstein reflects on her experience in clinching internships at major organizations, including Simon & Schuster and HBO Family Productions. Additional student contributors and recent graduates also offer their own recommendations, providing additional insight.
While “Scoring a Great Internship” seems like it comes straight from the desk of a college career counselor, it is that very quality that makes it helpful to a vast number of students.
Although “Scoring a Great Internship” is over a decade old, it emphasizes the importance of networking, a skill that is undoubtedly important to the internship and job-seeking process today. Whether it is reaching out to professors, alumni or career services offices, Rubinstein and fellow contributors advise the reader to talk to as many people as possible for advice about careers and internships.
“People know about internship opportunities and people make decisions about whom and when to hire for these internships. The more people you talk to, the more people will know that you’re looking for an internship and the greater will be your chances of learning about one that you like and successfully applying for it,” Rubinstein writes.
But Rubinstein’s advice does not end there. In addition to networking, she spends several pages showing readers how to structure their resume, offering the example to demonstrate the importance of “telling a story about you to someone who’s never met you and knows little or nothing about what you’re like and what you’re capable of doing.”
She writes similarly about cover letters and using an example, urging students to focus on presentation as well as language. In her advice on interviews, Rubenstein walks readers through important logistics such as what to bring to the interview, what to wear, how to present themselves and what questions to ask. Rubinstein and her contributors make it clear that the interview is just as important as the paper application.
Another great value of this book is that it lends advice to the reader about what to do after he or she gets the internship. Rubinstein urges readers to take their time deciding which internship to choose, making sure to think about every opportunity thoroughly.
“There are so many factors that can play into your decision to choose one internship over another. If you’d hoped for a paid internship, you might be hesitant to accept one that isn’t paid but seems more interesting. Or maybe you’ve never been comfortable working in large offices, but the best offer comes from a huge company,” she writes.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers’ survey, which received responses from 38,000 college students, including 9,215 from seniors earning bachelor’s degrees, highlights the overall value of internship. Clearly, employers do take internship-co-op programs seriously, the survey notes.
For instance, employers report that the main focus of such programs is to recruit college graduates for entry-level positions. Additionally, employers report that their interns/co-ops spend just about 58 percent of their work time on analytical/problem solving (35.9 percent) and/or project management (22 percent) tasks.
In the last two chapters of the book, Rubinstein offers tips for making the most of the internship experience. She recommends that interns use their opportunity to build a network with their boss and co-workers, and treat the internship like a real job. Networking “truly never ends,” Rubinstein writes.
“Have an open mind,” she writes. “Try not to be too proud to accept advice, and see where it goes. Many lucky interns keep in touch with their bosses/mentors for a long time after the internship is over.”
In general, this book is helpful for students who are looking for a quick yet informative and comprehensive resource to help them clinch a great internship that can help them land a great job after college. The internship, Rubenstein writes, is “a chance to get out of the classroom and into the real world, and to start figuring out the direction in which you’d like to go. There are plenty of opportunities out there, and you never know where they’ll lead you.”
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