Q&A: Getting down to business with internship guru Betsy Gill

Marina Mason

Getting an internship is a strenuous process and sometimes there is just not enough time in life to find one for the summer. But you are not too late to find a summer internship. I talked with Betsy Gill, assistant director of internship services, to see what you can do in order to get a last minute internship. Below are excerpts:

What are some big mistakes people make when applying for a last minute internship?

Submitting generic resumes and cover letters are some big ones. Also not trying to get your foot in the door by doing networking. It never hurts to meet people and learn their career story. Alumni can help by answering questions about a field such as “What classes do I take? Am I going to be ok with just one major?”

Do you think freshmen and sophomores can be hired for internships?

Yes! There will always be companies that will only recruit certain class levels. This is because those companies are using their internship class as a work recruiting tool. But not all industries do that, so don’t have false ideas about this.We have a lot of alumni that want to hire Northwestern students, and they may be more willing to take freshmen and sophomores than someone from outside the alumni association.

What do you suggest to make your application stand out?

Look at your resume. Targeted resumes are great, you don’t want to put everything you’ve ever done. When you are first starting off, very rarely will you have work experience that relates to what you want to do as a career. Think about how to describe the skills you gained from being a grocery cashier, babysitting or landscaper.

If your jobs are nothing very ‘targeted,’ can you include classes you’ve taken on your resume that are more relevant than your work experience?

Yes, definitely. I think right now being a Northwestern student is one of your greatest selling points. I think you can include extra activities, project work you’ve done, specific research you’ve done and course names that are relevant.

What are the steps for applying for an internship this late in the game? Are there still applications to fill out? Can you still get an interview?

Yes, yes and yes. Be proactive in applying and following up on your application.

What should be included on the cover letter that isn’t in your resume?

You don’t want to repeat everything on your cover letter. I suggest following the ‘roadmap’ the company gives you for the kind of person they are looking to hire and use your skills and experience to demonstrate how you fulfill those characteristics. Back up what they are looking for with real examples.

Do students still have time to do networking?

Yes! And this may be one of the better ways to get an internship late in the game. You have time, but you really have to stay on top of it.

What other resources are there for students for getting internships or for making their applications/resumes better?

Coming to Career Services, academic advisors and faculty, alumni and Career Cat.

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