How To Get An Internship + Be A Campus Leader

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Jessica Yeh is a senior in the Hotel and Tourism Management program at School of Professional Studies, minoring in Marketing and Revenue Management and Japanese. She has been through five different internships since attending NYU, during semesters and summers. She is passionate about building an Asian American and Taiwanese American community. One of her proudest commitment, besides being a Wasserman Campus Ambassador (WCA), is being the assistant director of an upcoming Asian and Taiwanese American conference at NYU.

Infinite Opportunities Dilemma
Coming to college, do you ever feel like you want to do everything? For instance, when you are browsing through a club festival and going to a career fair, you may feel that there are so many things you would like to explore. There are so many opportunities to choose from.

My advice is… Just DO IT.

College is the best time for you to explore and to challenge yourself. However, you need to be smart about how you go about choosing your commitments.

Finding the Right Ratio
A general formula I would suggest would be:
1 Internship + 1 Leadership Activity + Academics
The general idea is that besides school, it would better to have two more emphases per semester. Of course, this is coming from my personal experiences and you are more than welcome to try a different mix. Just keep in mind that finding the right ratio is very crucial to your success. For example, my mix for this semester, without an internship, is the following:
WCA + Taiwanese American Conference + Academics

5 Tips for Getting An Internship
1. Secure a career coaching appointment at Wasserman. Let a professional help you find the right internship title to go for and prepare the most appropriate cover letter/resume. Remember that we have this resource open for you during the weekdays for the entire semester.

2. Attend a career fair/info session. You want to find out more about the position that you are interested with the company that offers it. A lot of the times, researching online is not enough. Even though you might not necessarily land on an interview or a job right away, you can have a feel of the corporate culture from the company representation (you will find out in your career later that corporate culture can make a huge difference when you are choosing the right job).

3. Use personal connections. If you have any personal connection in your respective field, don’t be afraid to utilize it. Some students I have come across said that they feel uncomfortable having to use personal connections because it shows incompetence. Now, remember, we are just starting out in our careers. It is okay to ask for help. Often times, professionals like to help because they were in your shoes before.

4. Talk to you professors. Your professors are teaching at NYU because of their accomplishments in their fields. They are very well connected and they can surely direct you to someone helpful at least. For example, I got my internship as a sales & marketing intern through my sales & marketing class professor. Oh, don’t forget to keep in touch with some of your professors (wink).

5. Conduct coffee chats. If you know any professionals by chance you can always ask for a coffee chat. If you don’t then you can try connecting with professionals via LinkedIn. 1 out of 10 invitations may be accepted from my personal experience. Coffee chat should never be about asking for a job. It is about asking questions about the professional’s everyday work life and corporate culture. If you manage to leave an impression, you may then be favoured over other candidates. (Business world is about human connections, so it doesn’t hurt to build the network earlier on.)

3 Tips for Becoming a Campus Leader
1. Find a cause that you are passionate in. I believe it is the same as finding a job. If you were not passionate about it, you would find difficulty in working for that cause. An example would be my working as a Wasserman Career Ambassador (WCA). I am passionate about helping students figuring out their school and professional lives thus WCA is not just a commitment. In fact, it is part of my interest. Therefore, I never feel constrained or obligated. It is just part of who I am and who I want to be.

2. Don’t be afraid to take on responsibilities. Students who take on responsibilities are more likely to grow because they are probably twice as much confident than those who don’t. That does not mean that they don’t make mistakes. In fact, taking on responsibilities is about making mistakes and knowing that you will not make them again in your professional lives later on.

3. Know that you are a student. So have fun! When you are working with students of your age, you might encounter disagreements and problems. However, try to resolve any kind of problem with emotional intelligence because your fellow students are part of your future professional network. Also, know that you are a student so don’t be too hard on yourself. Know when to enjoy yourself and when to take things easy.

The upcoming College to Career Boot Camp will help you hone in on those professional skills that you need to find your dream internship or full-time job. This one-day conference is for students from all majors seeking information on the transition to the “real world” of full-time work. This event provides undergraduate and graduate students with insight and practical knowledge about dealing with real world issues while venturing into the workforce for the first time.

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