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Internship and Job Search Strategies


The internship and job search process involves a combination of traditional and proactive approaches. Here are the main ways students and alumni can conduct their search:

Applying to Posted Opportunities

  • Online Job Boards: Utilize popular job search platforms like Handshake, LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and company websites to find and apply for posted positions. The USP Blog has subpages for internship and job openings geared specifically to USP/RED students and alumni. 
  • Industry-Specific Websites: Explore industry-specific job boards or websites related to your field of interest.
  • Subscribe to job alert emails: If you are interested in working for specific medium-large sized companies and organizations check to see if they have an email list you can subscribe to where they announce new job openings.
  • Check the Where to Look page for additional tips on where to look for planning and real estate related opportunities.


Tips for applying to posted positions: 

  1. Resume Tailoring:

    • Customize for Each Job: Tailor your resume for each job application by highlighting relevant skills, experiences, and achievements. Use keywords from the job description to demonstrate alignment with the employer's requirements.
  2. Cover Letter Optimization:

    • Personalization: Write a unique cover letter for each application. Address the hiring manager by name if possible, and explain why you're interested in the position and how your skills match the job requirements.
    • Show Enthusiasm: Express enthusiasm for the company and explain why you're a good fit culturally. Use specific examples to demonstrate your knowledge of the organization.
  3. Research the Company:

    • Company Culture: Research the company's values, mission, and culture. Incorporate this information into your application to show that you've done your homework and are genuinely interested in working for that particular organization.
    • Recent News and Developments: Stay informed about recent news or developments related to the company. Mentioning these in your application can demonstrate your proactive approach.
  4. Application Tracking System (ATS) Optimization:

    • Keyword Inclusion: Many companies use ATS to screen resumes. Ensure your resume includes relevant keywords from the job description to increase the chances of passing through ATS filters.
    • Formatting Considerations: Keep your resume format simple and avoid graphics or complex layouts that may not be compatible with ATS.
  5. Professional Online Presence:

    • LinkedIn Profile: Ensure that your LinkedIn profile is complete and aligns with your resume. Add a professional photo, update your headline, and provide a comprehensive summary of your skills and experiences.
    • Online Portfolios: Consider creating an online portfolio showcasing your work. Include the link in your resume or cover letter.  You can also hyperlink specific projects on your resume.
  6. Networking on Job Platforms:

    • Connect with Recruiters: If you find a job through a platform like LinkedIn, try connecting with the recruiter responsible for the position. This can help your application stand out and establish a direct line of communication.
  7. Follow Application Instructions:

    • Carefully Read Job Descriptions: Pay close attention to application instructions in the job posting. Some employers may request specific documents, such as writing samples or references. Follow these instructions meticulously.
  8. Prepare for Assessments:

    • Online Assessments: Some employers include assessments or tests as part of the application process. Be prepared to complete these assessments promptly and professionally.
  9. Networking within the Company:

    • Employee Referrals: If you have connections within the company, consider seeking employee referrals. Employee referrals can significantly increase your chances of getting noticed by the hiring team.
  10. Follow-Up:

    • After Applying: Send a follow-up email expressing your continued interest in the position. Reiterate your qualifications and briefly mention any new developments or achievements since your application.

Remember that consistency and persistence are key. Keep track of your applications, stay organized, and be patient. Applying to posted jobs is just one part of a comprehensive job search strategy, so consider combining it with other methods for a well-rounded approach.

Proactive Company Outreach

  • Research and Targeting: Identify companies that align with your career goals and values. Research their industry, culture, and available positions.
  • Networking Events: Attend industry conferences, career fairs, or networking events where you can introduce yourself to company representatives and express your interest.
  • Informational Interviews: Reach out to professionals in your desired field for informational interviews. This can help you build connections and learn more about potential job opportunities.
    • Reach Out Professionally: Approach individuals for informational interviews by sending polite and concise messages. Express your interest in their career path and request a short meeting to gain insights into their industry.
    • Prepare Thoughtful Questions: Before informational interviews, research the person's background and the industry. Prepare thoughtful questions to show genuine interest and curiosity.
    • Follow Up: After informational interviews, send a thank-you message expressing your appreciation. This keeps the connection warm.
  • Cold Email Companies: Reach out to supervisor and director level professionals within specific companies to express your interest in working for them.  When taking this approach treat your email as a short cover letter and include your resume as an attachment.  This method works best for non-government positions (private companies and non-profits) as most government positons will require an open and full recruitment for any paid positions.  It may also work for unpaid internships with government agencies.

Utilize Your Network

  • Alumni Connections:

    • University Alumni Groups: Join alumni groups or associations related to your university. Attend alumni events, networking sessions, and reunions to connect with graduates who share your alma mater.

    • LinkedIn Alumni Tool: Use LinkedIn's alumni tool to find and connect with former students from your university. You can filter by location, industry, and company to identify potential connections.
  • Social Media Engagement:

    • LinkedIn Networking: Actively engage on LinkedIn by sharing relevant content, participating in discussions, and connecting with professionals in your industry. Personalize connection requests to explain your common interests or goals.
  • Networking Events:

    • Attend Industry Events: Look for conferences, seminars, and workshops related to your field. Attend these events to meet professionals, recruiters, and potential employers.
    • Virtual Networking: In the digital age, virtual events and webinars also provide opportunities to network. Participate in online discussions and connect with speakers and attendees.
  • Joining Professional Organizations:

    • Industry Associations: Become a member of professional organizations relevant to your career. Attend events organized by these associations to meet professionals and expand your network.
    • Committee Involvement: Consider joining committees or volunteer groups within these organizations. This can enhance your visibility and provide more chances to connect with industry insiders.
  • Utilize Personal Connections:

    • Friends and Family: Inform your friends and family about your career goals. They might know someone in your desired industry or have connections who can offer advice or assistance.
    • Networking within Current Circles: Attend social gatherings, community events, or local meetups where you can naturally connect with people who may have valuable insights or connections.
  • Express Gratitude and Stay Connected:

    • Follow Up: After connecting with someone in your network, send a thank-you message expressing your appreciation. This keeps the connection warm.
    • Keep in Touch: Periodically check in with your network. Share updates on your career journey and express interest in their achievements. Building long-term relationships is key.