Brush up your resume: Take a look with fresh eyes and make sure your experiences are relevant and proceeded by action verbs, and your skills are up to date.
Be cognizant of early deadlines: Some summer internships (especially executive training programs) release their applications in early December and close the submission in February, so make sure you’re aware of what’s out there so you don’t miss out.
Volunteer: The holiday season is a great time to give back to the community, plus skills acquired from volunteer work can always translate onto your resume.
Communicate: Reach out and email some connections, past supervisors, bosses, and other professionals you haven’t spoken with in a while. Maybe even send a hand-written note to the ones most important/relevant to your career path. Create, update, or revamp your LinkedIn profile. Send thank you emails to your professors. They have connections to the industries you’re interested in, and you never know how they can help.
Sign up for the Wasserman Mentor Network: The mentor network is a great, low-risk way for you to learn more about a career field you are interested in. Wasserman will connect you to an NYU graduate who wants to talk to you about their experiences! Info can be found here.
Have business cards printed: You can either spend some of your holiday cash, or even ask for them as a gift. Vistaprint will do 250 business cards for $10, which is a pretty great deal. Come back to school ready to network and get your name out there. Include your name, phone number, email address, and any other pertinent contact information, like a website or LinkedIn address.
Make the most of your forced family parties: Ask your relatives if they know anyone who could talk to you about the field you’re interested in. Rather telling the story of the time you saw Cole Sprouse to your little cousins for the thousandth time, try to talk with some adults and steer the conversation towards your future career. Do they know anyone in that field? Could they put you in contact with that person? You’ll never know if you don’t ask, and it never hurts to network.
Edit your social media presence: Instead of mindlessly surfing facebook and twitter during your down time, look at your social media profiles with a critical eye. Would you want an employer looking at what you’ve posted? If not, either delete that content or increase your privacy settings. Remember: once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever. Don’t let the photos from your wild New Year’s Eve ruin your chances of landing your dream job.
Do a practice interview on Big Interview or InterviewStream: Another thing you can do in bed in your pajamas, dust off your interviewing skills with these virtual resources and prepare yourself for the summer internship search.
For those of you who will not be keeping yourself busy with internships or feel that your social media is as clean as a white canvas, perhaps it would be a good time to get started with studying for the CFA, GMAT, GRE or LSAT. These exams are just like the SAT and they are always a pain. It is never too early to start as these exams can actually provide you with a lot of working knowledge in your field of study. In other words, you can get ahead in your classes in the spring. For those ambitious sophomores looking to do Finance, have a CFA or GMAT score when you apply for the Junior summer internship will certainly be very impressive to the employers. This might just be the edge you need to get an interview among a very congested pool of applicants!
An older NYU student once told me that 4 years of college is enough time to set yourself up for the rest of your life.
She told me to utilize every opportunity that NYU offered me (especially the free ones). That meant going to the resource center, checking out books, borrowing movies, going to the gym, making friends with the people on my floor, sending email to alumni, going to all the NY events, sneaking into parties to network, etc.
How to make a good first impression at an internship:
My advice for making a good impression starts in the morning of your first day. Dress the part. Clean clothes and great hair go a long way. Also, bring some sort of breakfast treat if you can. Usually, if peope like a healthy morning snack or even biscottis to much on with a morning coffee. I mean, who doesn’t like a free snack? And when the people who ate thank you (which they will), you can strike up a conversation with them.
Also, don’t be afraid to speak up. I know when I start working at a new place, I’m always so scared to do something wrong or say something wrong that I decide to just stay quiet. But you should keep in mind that a first impression is still an impression, so you’re going to need to speak up in order to do that! Talk about TV, or movies, or pop culture. If you know something going on in your field of work, talk about that. If you’re interning/working in the same place as someone else, you’re bound to have something in common with your colleagues.
Two weeks in any site:
If I could spend two weeks at any of the NYU sites, I would choose Shanghai (Paris would be first choice, but I’m here so I’m assuming I cant pick this.). I feel like there’s a lot of really great new industries popping up in China and it’s in the middle of this incredible revolution. It would be great to get on the excitement and buzz that is in Shanghai. Also, I feel like the culture would be completely different from the US which would make for an incredible experience.
Vivian Lee, Stern, Class of 2014
What’s your favorite NYU class so far, and why?
TV Nation. I am obsessed with TV and I actually got to learn about the development process for new TV shows in this class. We not only watched a few pilots before they aired on TV, but the rest of the time we watched “busted pilots.” That’s the term for first episodes of shows that did not get picked up for a full season. It was really interesting to see what went wrong, and for our final project we pitched our own pilots–many of which I would legitimately want to watch.
If you could spend two weeks at any OTHER NYU study away site, which would you pick and why?
Prague. It looks absolutely beautiful and seems perfectly situated to travel to some of the most underrated destinations in Europe.
What do you find most interesting about “the working world” of your current site? What is, or would be, most challenging about working there? What would be easiest?
There seems to be more programs in the UK built for school leavers (an alternative to the university route) and for students to work full-time in between years at university (like a gap year). This is interesting, but also can be challenging for someone like me who is not from the UK but may be seeking work in the UK. It presents a difference in both what an employer is looking for (interns to work full-time, for example, instead of in conjunction with schoolwork) and the level of experience of job applicants I would be competing with (i.e. when applying for an entry-level position in the future, I may be competing with those who have already had yearlong full-time work experience before). If I did regularly attend uni in the UK, I think I would really appreciate this opportunity to dive in and test out the industry I’m studying to work in. The easiest thing would probably be getting lunch, because of the abundance of inexpensive but also good lunch places (think Pret A Manger but with 10x more convenient locations than in New York, and other similar fast but fresh eateries with an abundance of sandwich varieties as well as global cuisine options).
Harneet Kaur Finance & Economics, NYU Stern School of Business, Class of 2014
Who is your celebrity hero and why?
My celebrity hero would be an Indian (Bollywood) movie actress – Preity Zinta. In addition to being an amazing and successful actress in some of Bollywood’s greatest movies, she owns an Indian sports team, attended classes in Harvard Business School, and is further involved in numerous charitable organizations specifically supporting womens’ rights in India.
What’s your best piece of resume advice?
Be specific. Make sure you actually relate your skills and experience to the job you are applying for and try to do this for every single application you send out. It is sometimes easy to create a generic resume, but those specific/relevant points may be what makes your resume stand out compared to the rest!
What is your favorite memory from your study away experience thus far?
My favorite experience from study abroad (so far) has to be my day trip to Rome. From the Vatican Museum, to the Spanish steps, and the Trevi Fountain at night, Rome is breathtaking. Not only is every monument a work of art, but a piece of history interconnected with the rest of the city and Italy itself. A day was definitely not enough, so I will definitely be visiting there again soon!
Suzi Brown, CAS, Class of 2014
What is the best advice about NYU you have received? At NYU, it is so important to be proactive and get out there. If an opportunity comes your way and you are even the slightest bit interested, go for it. You never know what you might stumble upon. This is how I ended up being involved in Alternative Breaks. I applied to volunteer in the Dominican Republic freshmen year, not thinking I would get a spot on the trip. However, because I just went for it and gave it my all, I travelled with 11 other like-minded students and taught English at a school in the DR over my spring break. It was such an amazing experience that the following year I applied to be a site leader and lead my own group of students back there to teach. If you are willing to put yourself out there, NYU can help you find a community and foster your passions.
Why did you decide to study abroad in Buenos Aires and Madrid? I have always wanted to study abroad, so that part was a no-brainer. Argentina and Spain share a strong history, both colonial and cultural, but they are so different down to the their core. In many ways, Argentina has a European flare, and many times tries to cultivate this flare, but this country also makes a point of being unto its own, proud of it’s pre-European roots. Then we have Spain, such a strong and powerful country for so long, now fading somewhat into the global landscape. There is a lot going on politically in each country, and as a politics major, it is very interesting to see, in real time, the progression of things in this sphere (already in my time here, there have been multiple, very lively, political protests in the streets). I am so excited for this amazing opportunity to study abroad for a full year in two countries and two hemispheres. I can’t wait to improve my Spanish and learn about these cultures constructed from either side of history.
What advice would you give about searching for an internship? Cast your net wide. When applying for internships, it is important not to get so bogged down in the one idea or image you had about what your internship would look like. Apply to a variety of positions so that you may have a choice at the end, and see which companies or organizations get back to you. You might be surprised at the types of places that are interested in your resume, and you might also be surprised at the different positions you are fit for and actually enjoy. On the other hand, it may also show you what types of things you are not interested in, but knowing this is just as important. None of my internships have ever been the same, let alone in the same general field, and I have learned vital lessons from each. I’m still not sure what I want to do, but my diverse experiences have given me a taste of the kind of environment I prefer to work in and the kinds of responsibilities I want.
Ben Strulowitz, Stern, Class of 2014
What is the best class you have taken at NYU and why? I’m a Finance and Economics major at Stern, but the truth is that my most enjoyable classes at NYU were in Steinhardt. I took private lessons in Guitar with Tyler McDiarmid, who also happened to be nominated for a Grammy. I also took Piano Tim Nuernberger, who taught me how to crush “Old Susanna.” Both classes were tremendous opportunities to enhance my college education in a 1 on 1 format that is not your typical college classroom… And both professors were very cool guys. Highly recommend them.
What’s your best tip for making a great first impression at a new job/internship? Always be busy. At times, your employers will simply not have the resources or availability to teach you and give you attention. This “downtime” can make or break an internship. If a higher-up notices that you are doing additional research or other tasks during your downtime, he will respect your work ethic and assign more responsibility your way.
If you could spend two weeks at any of the NYU study away sites, which would you pick and why? I would spend 2 weeks at the Sydney Campus. I am somewhat outdoorsy, so the hiking and beaches are very appealing. The English language is a plus, and I’ve heard the beer is delicious.
Lacy Reilly, CAS, Class of 2014
What is the best class you have taken at NYU and why? Hands down, Human Society and Culture, the required course for all Anthropology majors. I was lucky enough to take the course with Bruce Grant, an extremely knowledgeable and dynamic professor. The class confirmed my choice to pursue Anthropology. After one semester, I felt like a more curious, observant, and accepting human being—curious of the world around me, observant of the grand diversity of humanity, and accepting of that diversity as beauty.
What’s you best tip for making a great first impression at a new job/internship? Take notes! Especially while getting acquainted to a new position, you’ll need to have written reminders of your responsibilities and your boss will be impressed by the care you take to ensure that you complete your tasks correctly. Taking notes along the way will also limit the amount of semi-embarrassing procedural questions you ask, and put you on the path towards self-sufficiency!
If you could spend two weeks at any of the NYU study away sites, which would you pick and why? I’d choose the site I’m at right now: Prague! I could not have picked a better place to study away. The city is gorgeous, living is simple and cheap, and the culture is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced—which makes this a tremendously exciting learning experience for an Anthropology major!