Internships. The word itself sounds daunting and scary, but don’t worry SMU has your back! Even given the unprecedented times of living in a pandemic, SMU has everything to prepare you for success: the Hegi Career Center, easy-to-access resources like free Linkedin Learning courses, amazing professors, Peer Academic Leaders in each commons, Hegi Career Leaders Program, SMU Board Fellows Program, and more. This might sound overwhelming; how could you know what you want to do? Don’t panic! The Hegi Career center also has an in-depth assessment to understand your behavioral and analytical skills to advise what you are best suited for. Additionally, you can consult with mentors (i.e. professors, counselors, other friends) to understand what exactly you’re looking for. But what does the actual recruitment process look like? Let’s break it down bit by bit:
The First Step: Networking and Getting your Foot in the Door!
SMU recognizes that the hardest part of getting an internship – and a full-time job – is getting noticed! In order to combat this, the SMU Hegi Career Centers facilitates a career fair once per each semester. During this career fairs, dozens of companies from all over the Dallas, Fort Worth Metroplex will come to SMU to want to meet YOU. Before Covid-19 times, each company will have their own stall (think food market style!), and students were able to freely walk up to whichever company to learn more information from each. Additionally, certain schools like Lyle School of Engineering and Cox School of Business will have their very own tailored career fairs. However, during the pandemic, you might think that career fairs are dead. But it’s exactly the opposite! At SMU, career fairs are still thriving, and companies are always looking for SMU talent. Instead of in-person stalls for each company, all events are catered online. Students are allowed to express interest to each company ahead of time and register for a time slot (of many) during the career fair days – this allows for efficiency and easiness for both you and the company. Additionally, a great way to stand out is to have a strong resume. Lucky for you, the Hegi Career Center hosts a semesterly event called “Resumania.” In this event, the career counselors at the Hegi Center will invite executives from companies throughout Dallas to edit and look over student’s resumes in a nonjudgmental, constructive environment; this is so students will know that their resume is amazing because a real company executive will have approved and looked at it. Keep in mind, although it might seem scary to talk to recruiters from companies, all the SMU resources listed above are here for you and ready to help you along the way!
The Second Step: The Interview
The key to a successful interview is to be confident and be curious. Oftentimes we get caught up in the idea of students being the one that’s interviewed, but you have to remember, you are also interviewing the company! Remember to ask intentional and thoughtful questions to ensure that you can thoroughly visualize yourself as a happy and healthy employee at the company you are interviewing for. To prepare for the interview process, we have so many resources on campus to help you practice. The Hegi Career center has set up online appointments with career counselors to practice any type of interviews ranging from behavioral to technical; all you have to do is register and book your appointment online! Additionally, in each residential commons, there are Peer Academic Leaders, Honors Mentors, Residential Community Directors to help you with those areas of professional development – so many resources at your fingertips! Remember, practice makes perfect and that includes interviewing. Don’t be afraid to ask multiple different people of varying personalities to sit down and practice! From my experience, the more I practiced my interviewing skills, the less nervous I was for the real deal; I knew that I could ace the interview because of the encouragement from previous practices and people.
The Final Step: What happens after the Interview
So, you’ve applied, you’ve interviewed, what’s next? After your interviews, always remember to send a follow-up thank you email; you won’t believe how impactful this can be! This allows for the recruiters and interviewers to continue to have you in mind, even after the interview. Additionally, don’t be afraid to reach out to the recruiters and ask follow-up questions – everyone loves an eager and diligent learner. This is also the point where you finally get to relax. You’ve worked hard during the process and you deserve a break. Wind down, send those emails, and wait for the acceptance letter that I know is coming your way!
Thus, at SMU, we have a million and one resources for you to be successful and find the career that genuinely puts a smile on your face. Even during Covid-19 times, SMU has adapted seamlessly. So, when we see you on the Hilltop, Our Focus: Your Success.
Best Wishes and Pony Up!
Class of 2021
Management Science B.S. | Lyle School of Engineering