Your Internship Search – Phase 3: Troubleshooting
If your search is not getting the results you want, it’s time to troubleshoot. First, start with the basics and move on to advanced search techniques. Contact one of the EMP career coaches if you want to make a plan to get started or unstuck on any of these things. We’re here as your partners in the process!
If your search plan is robust and you are working with a coach, great! Here are five additional approaches that can help to get things on track.
1. Refresh your Target List
When you use a target list, you create a LAMP list to identify the 5-6 organizations you’ll focus on at a time.
Have you drifted from this commitment? Have you lost confidence your top organizations are still the right picks? Use the links to refresh your approach.
Here is a reminder of the process:
✅ Identify your best prospects based on a sorted list with three criteria: those that you are most motivated about, you can find advocates to talk to, and they have positions.
✅ If you find that one of your top organizations isn’t viable after talking to employees (examples: requires work authorization, you’re truly not qualified for the positions, all internship positions are filled), retire it from your list and add in the next top prospect.
✅ Focus all of your proactive outreach effort into your target organizations using the steps in the Two-Hour Job search and seeking out one “booster”. (use 3B7 to time your messages without stress, use provided outreach email templates if you don’t have your own yet, use the TIARA framework to decide on informational interview questions, use guidelines to differentiate.
2. Refine How You Make a Request
✅ If you’re sending out many requests with little response, it’s time to tweak your approach. This article has many suggestions, including a quick video from Duke alumni that is packed with advice, suggestions for recruiter interactions, a guide for writing a request, and a link to samples.
3. Use the Duke Tools to Find Natural Connections
You’re sensing the theme here. If most of your time isn’t being spent on proactive outreach once you get the hang of online applications, you’re missing out on the methods that most Duke master’s engineers use to get their offers. Starting with the Duke connection is a great lead-in, and here are three options for connecting you might be missing:
✅ Enhance your LinkedIn skills.
✅ Try the Ask a Blue Devil alumni Q&A tool that uses AI to match your request with alumni profiles.
✅ Use a variety of Duke Alumni resources. (Don’t miss the groups!!)
4. Get Feedback and Advice
In addition to working with the career coaches, please connect with faculty and others at Duke as part of your support network. We all want you to have a meaningful Duke experience! We’ve also supported you by working with past students and alums to create the Eight Steps for Search Success as a practical guide. Based on their experience and advice, step five is “Get Feedback and Advice.” Click through for robust information, but here are some highlights to help you troubleshoot:
✅ Find People Who Can Offer Advice
If you don’t yet have this, start now and we can help! You’ll want to find some trusted allies and sources of information for the areas you’re targeting in your search.
✅ Get Input and Feedback on Your Plan
Do you know the areas of your search that need troubleshooting? What’s working or not? Just one meeting with a coach can be helpful for this kind of attention and pivot.
✅ Adapt Your Search
Define or revisit the three components of your search plan to ensure that these are on-point for the search you are intending to conduct.
• Are you confident that there is a target market that’s right-sized for what you want and what you have to offer?
• Can you describe yourself in one sentence that is clear, concise, and different from what anyone else would say?
• Do you have a list of 40+ employers that represent the overlap between your one sentence and the target market?
If this seems daunting, it’s okay! Believe it or not, you can have all three of these things and we’ll be your partners in getting there from wherever it is that you’re starting right now. Look above for the info on scheduling an appointment.
5. Edit and Improve Your Documents
If you’re not confident that your application documents represent you well, now is the right time to check!
✅ Use the resume basics and customizing checklists to see if you’ve missed any important criteria.
✅ Run your document through Quinncia, it’s a tool for Engineering Master’s students that shows you how the online software makes meaning (or doesn’t!) of your document. You’ll get custom suggestions for adapting all the problem areas.
✅ Get feedback from coaches, Duke faculty, writing consultants, and the full range of Duke supporters. If you haven’t yet, check in with a trusted member of your growing professional network to ask for a quick review and feedback.
Searching requires an ABUNDANCE of patience and resilience. Please be sure to use a variety of resources to support you as you go. We never want you to feel stuck or lost for long, even though it’s inevitable along the way.
Check out Additional Pages in this Series:
✅ Your Internship Search – Quick Start for Engineering Master’s Students
✅ Your Internship Search – Phase 1: Three Steps to a Solid Search
✅ Your Internship Search – Phase 2: Good to Great, Incorporating the Employer Perspective