No matter what field you go into, an internship or traineeship can be a beneficial way of getting your foot in the door. Through internships, college students will gain valuable firsthand knowledge and real-world skills in their fields. In a field like engineering, it can sometimes be difficult to find and get the internship of your choice. However, there are plenty of proven strategies to help you secure a career-changing opportunity.
What Type of Engineering Is for You?
Before deciding what kind of internship you’d like to seek, it’s important to figure out what kind of engineering field you will enjoy. There is a wide range of industries that engineering applicants can pursue. Some popular fields engineering students might consider are:
- Biomedical Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Engineering
- Health and Safety
- Mechanical Engineering
- Structural Engineering
It is important to note that not every discipline will have the same number of internships. Some fields will likely be more competitive since there are fewer internships to pursue. However, this should not stop you from looking since many opportunities are lesser known.
Finding the Right Opportunities
There are many great sites to look at for finding opportunities. Websites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter and LinkedIn have a large database of jobs and internships to give you a good idea of what’s available. A GCU resource available to its students is Career Connections. This tool is like other job search sites but has specific access just for GCU students.
Also, if there are specific companies you are interested in working for — check their websites. They will sometimes post information about internships that will be coming up soon or dates to check for updated job listings. Make note of these dates and prepare to spend some time polishing your resume.
Resume and Profile Tips
Resumes and profiles should sum up who you are as a candidate for a position. Make sure your resume highlights the qualities and experience the employer is looking for. Reading through an internship posting that appeals to you is a good way to see what skills are valued for the roles you will seek. Remember to include the technical skills you have acquired through your classes and projects, such as computer-aided software certifications, equipment expertise and knowledge of programming languages.
A resume should be well organized and easy to read through. Bullet points can be a good addition to ensure each of your skills stands out. Templates can be a good way to keep everything uniform and prevent the resume from getting cluttered.
If you are using a large career search site with profile options, your profile should be complete before sending out applications. A profile provides a quick snapshot of your academic background and skills to a recruiter. Keep everything up to date so that all your strengths and experience can be on display.
Connections you make in college offer networking opportunities that will grow your contacts as you search for a job after graduation. However, this can aid you in finding internships as well. Faculty, advisors, and students can point you in the direction of overlooked opportunities.
Clubs can be another excellent way of making connections. Many engineering clubs will offer various career building opportunities for members, including advance notice of internships, guest lectures from industry professionals and resume reviews. Networking can take on plenty of forms, but it is a skill that can better your chances for success.
Interviewing Strategy for Internships
When you land an interview, there are several common tips to follow that will help you stand out to potential employers. These include:
- Dress Nicely: Many people will overlook this simple trick. An interview is the first time you’re meeting recruiters face-to-face, so you want to look professional, whether you are meeting in-person or through a virtual, video-based platform, Dressing in business casual attire or nicer is a good way of saying you’re serious without saying a word.
- Straighten Your Posture: Good posture is another way of displaying confidence and showing you are interested in the company.
- Practice Answering Questions: There are dozens of sites that provide common interviewing questions for applicants. Pick out several lists and practice what you would say. Planning out the exact answer can be hard since you don’t know what the recruiters will ask. GCU’s ACE Centers offer career advisors that can help you plan out a list of potential replies to highlight your strengths.
- Eye Contact and Smile: Even if you are on a virtual call, it’s good to remain highly interactive during the interview. You want them to see that you are someone they would like to train. Simply smiling and making eye contact shows consideration and respect for the interviewer's time. If you find yourself being interviewed by multiple people, make sure you spend time looking at each one when answering questions.
If you’re ready to pursue a lucrative career in a high-tech industry, it’s time to think about earning your engineering degree at Grand Canyon University. The College of Science, Engineering and Technology offers numerous degree options for aspiring engineering consultants. These include the Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering degree, Bachelor of Science in Engineering and the Bachelor of Science in Engineering with an Emphasis in Robotics degree.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.