Internship & Job Search Action Plan

Before beginning your search it is suggested that you read our Fraudulent Employer Warning.

Fraudulent Employer Warning

Important Message: Although thousands of legitimate internship and employment opportunities are posted on PioneerNetwork and other online listings all students need to be cautious about the integrity of any employer. All internships and jobs in the new PioneerNetwork are individually reviewed before being posted. However, sometimes opportunities may end up being  different than what was described. Scam listings are rare but even one can harm you with lost time, money or personal identity. Please take a minute to review the following warnings list. 

Warnings:

It is extremely important that you know how to distinguish legitimate internship and job postings from scams. Here are some few red flags to look for:

  • You must provide your credit card, bank account numbers, or other personal financial documentation.
  • The posting appears to be from a reputable, familiar company (often a Fortune 500). Yet, the domain in the contact's email address does not match the domain used by representatives of the company (this is typically easy to determine from the company's website). Another way to validate is to check the open positions on the company's website. -
  • The contact email address contains the domain @live.com.
  • The position requires an initial investment, such as a payment by wire service or courier.
  • The posting includes many spelling and grammatical errors.
  • The position initially appears as a traditional job...upon further research, it sounds more like an independent contractor opportunity.
  • You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account (often for depositing checks or transferring money).
  • You receive an unexpectedly large check (checks are typically slightly less than $500, generally sent or deposited on Fridays).
  • You are asked to provide a photo of yourself.
  • The position is for any of the following: Envelope Stuffers, Home-based Assembly Jobs, Online Surveys.
  • The posting neglects to mention what the responsibilities of the job actually are. Instead, the description focuses on the amount of money to be made.
  • The employer responds to you immediately after you submit your resume. Typically, resumes sent to an employer are reviewed by multiple individuals, or not viewed until the posting has closed. Note - this does not include an auto-response you may receive from the employer once you have sent your resume.
  • The position indicates a "first year compensation" that is in high excess to the average compensation for that position type.
  • Look at the company's website. Does it have an index that tells you what the site is about; or does it contain information only about the job you are interested in? Scammers often create quick, basic web pages that seem legit at first glance.
  • Watch for anonymity. If it is difficult to find an address, actual contact, company name, etc. - this is cause to proceed with caution.
  • The salary range listed is very wide (i.e. "employees can earn from $50K - $90K the first year!")
  • When you Google the company name and the word "scam" (i.e. “X” Company Scam), the results show several scam reports concerning this company.
  • Google the employer's phone number, fax number and/or email address. If it does not appear connected to an actual business organization, this is a red flag.
  • The employer contacts you by phone, however, there is no way to call them back. The number is not available. - The employer tells you that they do not have an office set-up in your area, and will need you to help them get it up and running (these postings often include a request for your banking information, supposedly to help the employer make transactions).

If employer fraud is suspected:

  1. Report to a member of the SHU Career Development & Placement Center
  2. Report to SHU Public Safety, Fairfield Police Dept
  3. Suggested that students affected by employer fraud report their experience to the Internet Crime Complaint Center

An Internship and Job Search Checklist for SHU Students

An internship and job search can feel overwhelming, so it’s helpful to break it into manageable steps. The good news is you don’t have to do every step in order. For example, you can start working on your resume before you identify what you want to do. Just start checking off as many of these activities as you can, and you'll find yourself on the way to a great opportunity. Be sure to activate your PioneerNetwork recruiting account to access internship and employment opportunities exclusively for SHU students and alumni. Remember, you can receive assistance for every one of these steps by contacting your Career Coach in the Career Development and Placement Center.

Step 1: Confirm your basics – contact your career coach for help

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Identify your skills, strengths, interests and values.

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Identify the skills you need to develop for your career objectives (i.e, writing, developing, researching, analyzing, communicating, problem solving, calculating).

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Determine internships which will contribute to this skill development.

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Create or update your resume.

Step 2: Register with PioneerNetwork and prepare your tools

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Upload your resume for approval, understand how to write a cover letter, confirm at least 3 references.

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Search job postings for internships that might be a fit.

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Take note of announcements: employers visiting for information sessions, on-campus recruitment, employer panels.

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Review the Employer Database for a list of organizations that have a relationship with SHU.

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Use the SHU Alumni Network as a source of contacts for informational interviewing.

Step 3: Expand your search

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Identify your top organizations and develop a system to track your contacts and interactions.

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Identify SHU alumni, friends, family, and social contacts who might be able to give you advice or connect you to someone affiliated with your target list of organizations.


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Request information interviews – meetings over the phone or in person where you can ask for advice or suggestions regarding your internship search. Always follow-up with a thank you note and promise to keep them posted on the progress of your search.

Step 4: Utilize the Internet

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Linkedin: Find at least 50 connections. Establish contacts, follow your top employers, apply to internships.

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Glassdoor: Find internship postings, salary information, company reviews.

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Use other websites to find opportunities: Internships.comInternmatch.comYouternIdealist.

Step 5: Prepare for Interviews and Interactions

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Develop a 30 second speech for short encounters with employers.

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Conduct research on the company and the type of internship opportunities.

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Develop a list of insightful questions for the interviewer.

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Contact a career coach for mock interviews, help preparing for an interview, or help in evaluating your internship search process.

Adapted with permission from Liberal Arts Career Services/UT Austin.

Completed an internship? Take our quick online questionnaire and share your experiences with our students.

Five tips for finding internships online

By Colleen Sabatino, The Intern Coach

  1. Understand the search process, which is similar to Googling. Enter the keywords, such as the field/major, state, or city. If you’re unsure of what you want, search all states or enter a broad field, such as Communications. Then, narrow your choices by paid or unpaid, college credit or not, or by hours required. Be wary of internships that lack descriptions or don’t list responsibilities. If you’re uncertain about a company, Google it to find our more about its history and business operations.

  2. Check dates. Each online internship posting lists a date, stating when the internship starts. More and more internships have open dates and are available year-round, allowing you to do your internship at a time that fits your schedule. Companies are becoming much more flexible, so even if the posted dates are not convenient, the company may work to accommodate your availability. Don’t hesitate to ask.

  3. Update your resume and cover letter. Make sure that you add all new information, including any campus organizations that you’ve just joined or class projects or volunteer work that you’ve begun. Since most online internships involve phone interviews, you might want to consider what you would say during the interview. You could even ask a friend to role play with you in preparation.

  4. Explore virtual or remote internships. Doing an internship from your own computer in your dorm room can seem like an excellent way to gain experience. But be sure to check them out carefully since you won’t be onsite. Find out how much mentoring you’ll receive and who will be your key contact. Do get a clear description of the type of work you’ll be doing. It helps if you can view the work of former virtual interns. And review the terms of payment, academic credit, and expected hours.

  5. Follow up on your online applications. Email each company to make sure that your application was received, and ask how long the process will take. Indicate your enthusiasm for the internship, emphasizing your skills. If you have the name of the person who receives the online applications, direct your inquiries to that person. Otherwise, call the company and ask the receptionist to connect you to the appropriate department or person. Since a company may receive hundreds of online applications, you want to make sure that your name stands out.