OCC Career

Internship Week Brings Growth and Networking Opportunities

The start of spring semester is a crucial time to start planning for summer internships. It is time to polish your résumé, search for employers and open positions, and practice your interview skills. Whether you need help searching for positions in your field, applying to opportunities, interviewing, or all of the above, the Career Center’s Internship Week has you covered. A variety of events, workshops, and resources are available for you from February 1-5.
 
“We’ve changed our traditional in-person programming options to these quick, bitable sessions,” Internship Associate Gabby Gartner said. “Students have the opportunity to learn from employers and Career Center staff members on sixteen different topics that will meet them where they are in their process. There’s a session for every student.” The week begins with micro-sessions that focus on topics such as interview skills, resume-building, tips for LinkedIn and Handshake networking, and determining what skills you can bring to your future internship. Developmental sessions like these are great for anyone, regardless of your major, year, or level of experience. If you have a field of interest in mind, take a step further and attend an alumni panel to hear about their experiences working in health, science, government, non-profits, sustainability, and more.
 
“Our goal is for students to feel prepared and confident when they apply for their dream internship,” said Jon Frye, the Career Center’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator.
 
After you gain knowledge in the micro-sessions, apply your new skills in the networking events and mock interviews. “[Mock Interview Day] is a really great opportunity for students to meet with recruiters and alumni and get asked some real interview questions in a relaxed and low-stress environment,” said Internship Associate Alex Ball. To sign up for a mock interview, log in to Handshake to choose and meet with an employer. Employers include American Eagle, UPMC, Enterprise, Howmet Aerospace, and more.
 
If you want to learn more about the employers, you can ask your questions on Friday, February 5 during the coffee chats. “The idea is for students to get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the internship process in the context of a quick, casual conversations,” Frye explained. “When students apply for internships, they wonder how they can make their résumé stand out, what extracurriculars help their application, and what they should say at a virtual career fair. On Friday, we have eight employers who are ready to answer all these questions.”
 
Because Internship Week is taking place 100% virtually, you might wonder how Zoom networking will feel. You may feel unsure or uncomfortable going into those conversations, but Kavalukas offered some advice for meeting recruiters in this new way: “Networking is all about story sharing and relationship building. You are there to learn from them. You can ask about the work they do, what they studied, how networking impacted their path, what advice they have for undergrads, tips for resumes, interviews, and fairs.” She also stressed the importance of following up with employers. “Do not exit conversation without asking how to follow up with future questions, write down their preferred contact information, and follow up within a day to thank them for their time. Follow through is crucial to all relationship building, even when it is something as simple as connecting on LinkedIn.”
 
One of the main goals of Internship Week is “to help students get prepared for the upcoming Career and Internship Fairs taking place in February,” according to Kavalukas, but Internship Week isn’t the only opportunity for students to get career-related help. The Career Center offers 30-minute internship appointments and 20-minute drop-in sessions all year and Internship Prep Program days during the spring.
 
“The Internship Team is always here to support students,” said Kavalukas. “Internship Week is a great way to get engaged, but it is important to remember that our availability to support individuals is year-round.”
 
For more information about Internship Week and other Career Center resources, visit: https://www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/cdpa/internships/workshops-and-special-events/
 
By: Sara Hamilton