Tips from Dr. George Hanbury II for a young person searching for a summer job / internship?
Published Tuesday, May 29, 2018

George Hanbury II
President & CEO Nova Southeastern University
George Hanbury

What tips do you have for a young person searching for a summer job / internship?

Start Early to distinguish yourself as a competitive applicant

  • According to research published in the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) Journal, recent studies have shown students who graduate having completed at least one internship are more likely to secure full-time employment upon graduation, in comparison to students who have not done an internship (Callanan & Benzing, 2004; D'Abate, 2010; Gault, Redington & Schlager, 2000; Knouse, Tanner, & Harris, 1999; Knouse & Fontenot, 2008).
  • Many entry level full-time positions require that applicants already have 1-2 years of relevant experience in their field. Rather than beginning the search for internships during senior year, students who start exploring these opportunities during their first two years of college will have more time to try different experiences within their desired field, develop their professional network and build a competitive resume.

Use internships as a career exploration tool

  • The beauty of summer internships and jobs are that they are short-term commitments, giving students the opportunity to "test drive" a career.
  • This experience will provide students with a real-life glimpse into a career and serve as an indicator on whether or not it's the right fit.
  • The NACE Journal also reports that 81% of graduates stated that internships helped them shift their career directions, thus changing their academic experience with selecting a major and classes. The experience of doing an internship has a direct tie to re-focus and maximize classroom learning.

What types of summer jobs / internships will best equip young people with the skills and experience they need to secure a full-time career after graduation?

Opportunities that provide hands-on learning

  • To quote Albert Einstein, "The only source of knowledge is experience." The best way for our students to understand the outside world is to experience it firsthand. This is one of the main reasons internships are a vital part of a student's collegiate journey and such an influential force to help them reach their career goals.
  • At Nova Southeastern University (NSU), we have created an Experiential Education & Learning program that allows our undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in hands-on learning in the classroom and through academic and co-curricular internships. Not only will our students graduate with a robust resume but also with the world-ready skills they need to be successful.
  • According to author Jeffrey J. Selingo (There Is Life After College), employers are looking for graduates who have "acquired this set of overlapping skills: curiosity, creativity, grit, digital awareness, contextual thinking, and humility." This means students should use their internships or summer jobs to help develop their soft skills while also expanding their knowledge in their area of interest.

What are the most common mistakes young people make when applying/taking a summer job/internship?

Not leveraging your network

  • Word of mouth can be one of the most effective ways to find an internship, however networking takes time and strategy. As students are applying for summer internships and jobs, it can be easy to get into a routine of finding and applying for positions online with low success rate. Taking steps to build your professional network will assist all students regardless of career industry.
  • Develop relationships with your faculty and university's Career Development office. Have a presence on LinkedIn to maintain professional connections and seek to connect with your institution's alumni network.
  • Once you have established a network, stay in contact with them, especially from past internships and professionals in your field of interest. You never know when an internship or professional network could help you land your next opportunity.

The search for a summer internship should NOT begin in May

  • The end of a school year should not signify the beginning of your search for a summer position. Preparation for a summer job or internship should begin months ahead of time. Many students should begin planning and applying in the Fall semester depending on the applications, especially for leading finance internships. Industries have varying hiring cycles, so it will be important to know your field and utilize available resources to put yourself in the best position to secure a valuable summer experience.

In evaluating the best cities for summer jobs, what are the top five indicators?

  • Industries Available - It's important that students select cities that are strong hubs for their careers of choice.
  • Cost of Living - Some cities are known for their high cost of living which makes it an important factor that needs to be taken into account.
  • Transportation - Ease of transportation can have a significant impact on a student's experience in a new city.
  • Feasibility of long term commitment - Many summer internships turn into permanent opportunities after graduation. Students should keep this is mind when selecting a city.
  • Local Culture - Choosing a city with a vibrant culture gives students an opportunity to grow not only professionally, but personally as well.
George Hanbury

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