I don’t have an internship yet, and I’m kinda freaking out.

Yes! It’s true! We know this is happening for many of you and hope that you’re working with a career coach to make your life and process easier.

engineering master's students received the most internship offers in May with 51. Other months ranged from 0-22.

Let’s look at some facts. This is what your seniors reported about their internship offers last summer, which we all recognize was an unusual year. Note that few had their offer before March, and that many were searching and accepting beyond the end of classes. Don’t get complacent, but also, don’t panic!

Here are a few recommendations:

Follow Up and Reach Out
If you’ve been searching for a while, be sure to check in and follow up with the people and companies you’ve interacted with so far. It’s a good time to write an update message to confirm that you’re still interested and searching. For example, it’s possible that a big company has an internship to fill quickly after someone else accepted an offer and later changed their mind.  Smaller organizations may just be starting their hiring now, and would appreciate your introduction! Use a tool like Crunchbase to identify a few that are in your specific niche.

Troubleshoot your Process
Meet with a coach to review your strategy, application documents, correspondence, interview skills, and more. Now is the perfect time to understand what changes are likely to be the most effective and make them quickly. You can make an appointment using Handshake. You might have missed it, but we also posted a week-long series of posts about adapting your search. Start here and select one of the four additional articles that best connects with what you need: It’s Time to Reflect on your Search Plan! A Week-Long Series of Posts to Ensure You’re on Track.

Mix it Up
What tools are you using? Are there better approaches? Here are a few recommendations:

  • Are you familiar with the Two Hour Job Search? Watching the tutorial will revolutionize your approach! The time you invest watching the video will be gained right back in the productivity you gain. 
  • If you haven’t been using WayUp, Canvas or Handshake, see if they’re a good match for your internship interests.  
  • Run your resume through a free feedback tool like ResumeWorded, JobScan, VMock, JobSeer, or any of their competitors. The online review technology has gotten quite good at giving feedback! 

Keep Going
You can do it, and feeling the fatigue is real! This article can help you if you’re losing momentum and want tips for staying positive and motivated. Be sure you’re in touch with your department for added support and to keep the lines of communication open. This is important especially if the internship is a requirement. 

To conclude, here are two more actions you can take to keep your search going:

  • Research Duke labs & faculty ventures, send an introductory email if their projects align closely with your interests and skills. 
  • Follow the advice in this article from The Muse, a trusted source for career information. It suggests some internship alternatives for making money, getting experience, and continued learning. There may be options that you haven’t considered.
By Cameo Hartz
Cameo Hartz Assistant Director, Engineering Master's Career Services & Professional Development Cameo Hartz