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How to Find the Right Internship or Job

Yesterday, I met a student who had worked in restaurants for years. He asked me how he could find an internship in a hotel for the summer of 2011. I feel very pleased that he prepares early, and I also believe that he already have had an excellent start by asking advices from his professors. I gave him several suggestions:

1. Have an updated resume ready for job applications and ask peers, professors, and professionals to critique the resume.
2. Start talking to professors and staff members who may have industry connections. Very likely, they know somebody who is hiring.
3. Be actively involved in the activities hosted by the Career Service Center and utilize the resources provided by the center.
4. Research your dream companies and see if they have internship or management trainee program in place for college students. Then, prepare your application materials that target specifically to the dream jobs/companies.
5. Join professional organizations and start networking. AH&LA, NRA, and CMAA are good places to start.
6. Maintain a positive and strong presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, or even blogs. Start “Like” the corporate page of your potential employers and actively participate in their online discussion. The chances are you may start talking to the interviewers even before you apply for a job.
7. Go to tradeshows like the International Hotel, Motel, and Restaurant Show in NYC and network with industry professionals. SU provides free transportations to this show.
8. Prepare and ask guest speakers’ intellectual questions during their campus visit. These guest speakers may also be the ones who interview you. If not, they may know someone who is hiring and connect you to the right person.
9. During winter break, visit the hotels or restaurants you want to intern or work in the future. Your experience as a customer is important. If you dressed up as if you were doing an interview and introduced yourself to the manager in that location, you would have already made a very good impression to your future employers.
10. In the spring, continue a conversation with the managers or professionals you have talked before. You need to remind them you are still actively looking for an internship or job.

It is never too early to start finding an internship or career. I believe opportunities are given to those students who are well-prepared. What career advices will you give to college students?

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  1. For me personally, I can relate to this topic. I am currently working to try and get a job at the Hotel Commonwealth in Boston, MA. The reason I told this internship first above others is because I feel like I would get great experience, and I also have a connection to help me get it. I realized that after getting the job I did this summer, that knowing someone in the field of study would help an immense amount. I have given someone my resumee to start off. I am going abroad next sememster so I figured, the sooner, the better.

  2. For the most part, this list is pretty lengthy but very helpful. I have updated my resume regularly, mostly right after I have just finished an internship or when I am in the middle of one. One problem I usually have is actually finding the right words on describing each internship or work experience I have. I always feel that I am using very similar words. For advice #7, how would joining professional organizations help since we are only college students and I feel that by joining these organizations there's not going to be much help, except for keeping up with upcoming news about the industry.

  3. I believe there are several good reasons of joining professional organizations: 1. All organizations have job boards for members so that they can search and apply for jobs within the organization; 2. Many organizations have mentoring programs for student members (e.g. AH&LA); Student can work with hotel managers one-on-one --- mentors may help students find jobs; 3. It demonstrates how "knowledgeable" a student in the field if s/he can use what s/he learns from class in online discussion. 4. Online comments and discussion will stay "forever" in the Internet. Recruiters may google a candidate's name before making hiring decision. As a result, posting "valuable" information online with a student’s real name is actually important --- you want recruiters to “find” you online.

  4. Colleen Holland HPM 314
    Your suggestions for preparing for an internship are very useful. I update my resume every few months or when I know one of classes will be having a guest speaker. I always ask my professor when they make special comment about my performance to use them as references, and they are normally glad to pass my information on to their connections. I always write a few questions down the night before a speaker comes. Usually, I research some things online to help me form intelligent, informative questions. When I used to have free time, I start “Googleing” and “YouTubeing” random things. Now, I research industry leaders, and prospective employers. I have experience working for a company and trying to find out how they treat their employees before, during and after their employment. I feel it is important to know how things will go while you are with and after you leave a property. I have not really utilized Career Service Center at SU, because I have tried to make my own connections and search for jobs on my own. When I decide to look for an internship, I may decide to contact the center for help. They receive all the information from local employers specifically looking for college students.


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