How I Found My Internship
By Vy N.
My internship searching was like a journey and it was sometimes frustrated, especially when I was a full-time student and part-time employment while I desperately needed an intern to fulfill Environmental Health Degree requirements and be able to graduate on time. I started searching for my intern in winter quarter. At that time, with my resume and cover letter being ready, I thought I was ready to go. I mainly used Hayley’s notifications about available intern positions to navigate my intern search. Indeed, glass door sometimes were helpful as well.
I spent a lot of time editing my cover letters and resumes. I technically did not send the same resume wherever I applied. I always adjust my relevant classes, skills, and working experiences sections in my resume and re-edit my cover letter to adequately meet up the companies’ expectations. Some applications required me to have references from professors. I found that making good connection with professors was beneficial for my application. Also, some organization asked me to give them a sample of my technical writing skills. I actually used my writing homework from my technical writing class and it worked out very well. My advice to future applicants is that even if you may not like writing (writing is always my weak point), it sometimes is the most important part of your application. Everything you learn in school may be the deciding factors that make the employers’ interested in your application, so make sure read their expectations carefully to choose your relevant knowledge and skills. For instance, if you are looking for a position in a regulatory organization, mention your knowledge about Environmental Health Policy. You may mention you sampling class, but it might be not what that employer is looking for. On the other hand, the sampling class would be helpful if you apply for a laboratory position.
Generally speaking, for each place I applied, I spent an additional 2-3 hours editing my resume and cover letter before sending them out. I actually applied to only few places, and often chose “well-known” organizations like King County, Boeing, and Amazon. But you know what? I might have adequate a resume, cover letter, and great references from professors, but they are not everything. I remember I applied to only 4-5 places at the beginning and got three interviews. Unfortunately, I was not selected after those interviews. In retrospect, I was not putting enough effort in practicing and preparing for the interviews. Being skilled at interviewing takes time and effort, and it does not happen overnight. Trust me, if you plan to apply for internships, be sure to practice your interview skills along with preparing good materials for young applications. Another piece of advice I have is to check for new internship frequently and write down all open and due dates for each internship. If you send your application within 3 days from the opening date, I’ve learned your chance of getting an interview increased, especially for some popular privates and government organizations where the application process is competitive. Last but not least, applying to as many as you can, even unpaid internships. I understand we are students, and everybody would love paid internships. My own internship is unpaid, but I’ve learned a lot from my time here and it is a priceless experience that I’m so grateful to have. I have been exposed to almost every aspects of public environmental health. I am working with different people, and traveling to different places every day. I also have projects to work on with assistance from employees and my supervisor in my Health District. My final piece of advice is to be prepared and confident, you will find an awesome internship. Good luck!