The internship search process for students has become an inescapable battle to find the best summer opportunities. Though each person is looking for a unique experience, many students are taking advantage of University resources to make their search easier and more fruitful.

The avenues to learn more about internship opportunities are no longer limited to corporate website links. The professional networking site LinkedIn allows prospective employees to create professional profiles highlighting work experience, education and skills, while also connecting users with industry management directly. Another site, InternSushi.com, gives those trying to break into an industry the ability to craft an interactive digital profile through a self-made promotions video tailored to employers.

The University also provides students with resources like the Career Center and the Alumni Association to work toward professional goals.

Hail It Forward, a networking program run by the Alumni Association, allows for students to connect with Michigan graduates in their respective industry. This resource was used widely by students until it was recently discontinued. Ayanna McConnell, the manager of Student and Diversity Initiatives of the Alumni Association, explained that other popular resources such as 30-Minute Mentor and the Alumni Association’s LinkedIn accounts are still available.

“Last year over 170 students participated in the three 30-Minute Mentor programs we hosted at the Alumni Center, and 2,250 students placed business card orders,” McConnell said. “This year we were excited that over 200 students participated in the LinkedIn event we held on Feb. 11.”

Though McConnell could not comment directly on the discontinuation of the Hail It Forward program, alumni embrace the LinkedIn group and she hopes that it will play the same role that the Hail It Forward program once did.

“We want to help students figure out what their brand is either online or in person,” McConnell said.

For LSA freshman Grace Hargrave-Thomas, that brand has not yet been developed, though she said that her lack of professional experience has not discouraged her in improving for the future. Hargrave-Thomas has spent recent summers as a full-time nanny, but said that she wants to broaden her professional horizons.

“I don’t want to be in an internship where I’m getting coffee all the time, but I’ll do whatever it takes to be successful,” Hargrave-Thomas said. “I want to get valuable work experience professionally and in my field.”

Hargrave-Thomas said the University’s competitive environment has motivated her to pursue summer job options that she wouldn’t have anticipated doing when she was in high school.

“So many people here are doing big things,” Hargrave-Thomas. “That environment is inspiring me to get on the bandwagon and do something significant. These are the types of people I’m going to be competing with for jobs in the future.”

While the University offers resources to the entire student population, specific schools such as the Ross School of Business offer alternative student career services to help increase student professional preparation.

Damian Zikakis, director of career services for the Business school, said both workforce competition and industry preference for business students have maintained steadiness in the last few years.

“Students continue to be interested in finance-related roles, investment banks and corporate finance positions as well as consulting firm opportunities,” Zikakis said.

While Ross offers similar programs as the University’s Career Center or Alumni Association, like networking workshops, Zikakis said students are being proactive in making their professional goals a reality.

“Students are doing more preparation, more research and more practice to earn the internships that they want,” Zikakis said.

The University’s Career Center still remains the primary resource students can use to begin exploring their professional options. Genevieve Harclerode, the assistant director at the Career Center, said the number of unique client users for workshops and appointments is around 18,000 per academic year, not including those students who use online resources such as the Career Center Connector.

“All employers are going to be interested in the question of ‘why are you applying to this job’ or ‘what about our company interests you’ and prior experience in their field makes that a lot more clarified for students,” Harclerode said. “I think you can also find ways through volunteer positions, shadowing and informational interviewing to start to get a feel for whether a particular field is the right ‘fit.’”

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