Now that spring break is officially a thing of the past, students have started getting serious about summer plans. But despite extensive planning and researching, many have found the internship and job search process particularly frustrating this year.
“Part of the problem this year has to do with the fact that the economy has been in a funk and a lot of companies are looking to cut costs and thus cutting any paid internships that are out there,” sophomore Jonathan Parker said. Parker has applied to approximately 30 companies in his search for a summer position in the field of economics and finance.
He has only heard back from four of these businesses, and only with replies that the internship programs have been cut or already filled. This came as a surprise to Parker, who thought he had started his search with plenty of time, having sent out his resumes and cover letters in February.
Sophomore Debbie Anilionis has also already applied to several advertising internships in the New York City area, but hasn’t heard back yet.
“I’m really getting anxious because I haven’t found out about any of them yet,” Anilionis said. She began sending out resumes and cover letters over winter break. Frustrated, Anilionis sought advice from some people she knew in the field, who advised her to e-mail advertising agencies directly concerning internship availability. Anilionis subsequently emailed resumes and cover letters to approximately 20 agencies.
According to Parker, this level of accessibility has made the job and internship search significantly more difficult than in years past.
“Since e-mail and the web has developed, all the companies are taking resumes and cover letters online, which means that anyone can basically copy and paste a resume to 50 companies at once,” he said. “To hear a voice and to see a face is rare because they have so many hundreds of applicants online.”
Both Anilionis and Parker sought help from Career Services but feel that they were not provided with all the help that they needed.
“[Career Services] gave a good guideline but they don’t give real, detailed help,” Anilionis said. “They give us a web site for internships, Interncenter, but a lot of the internships listed weren’t updated.”
Parker added that though he scheduled a meeting with a member of the Career Services staff, the session consisted primarily of searching Interncenter, which he could have searched on his own from his dorm room.
Other students have yet to look into summer employment, but are not as worried about their prospects as those who have already sent out materials.
Freshman Debbie Roaquin hasn’t started looking for work yet, but hopes to find a job soon. She is mainly interested working to make money, but would like to find a job related to a career field in business or advertising.
“An internship would be good, a paid internship would be even better,” Roaquin said. A Queens, NY, resident, she added that finding a summer job in New York City is even more competitive – many students are interested in finding internships in the city.
Roaquin says that she does receive some pressure from her parents to quickly find summer employment.
“They say the experience would be good,” Roaquin said. “But a lot of it has to do with not wasting my summer and making money. My parents complain to me about not knowing the ‘value of a dollar.'” Roaquin’s parents suggested that she get in touch with cousins working on Wall Street to “make some connections.”
Parker agrees with that strategy, explaining that this year it seems impossible to find a position without having a connection to the organization.
“You need to know someone these days to get an internship,” Parker said. “You have to have something that sets you apart and just knowing somebody helps.”
In the end, despite not having been granted interviews from any of the organizations that received his resume, Parker has been accepted into a year-long program with the London School of Economics. He will have to spend his summer taking classes in order to graduate on time.
Sophomore Neha Surana has always seen taking classes as the best course of action for this summer. She plans to study chemistry at Harvard while living at Tufts. Class registration deadlines are more flexible than those for internship applications.
“It’s basically something I need to do, to make my life easier next year,” Surana said. “Summer classes have a later deadline and the application is more of a formality.”