USC has some of the best recruitment opportunities available. Starting in my freshman year, I was able to experience the semi-annual career fair to get a real grasp of how to format my resume, my elevator pitch, and talking to recruiters. Although it is possible to get an internship during freshman year, this time in my opinion is best served grooming your professional skills and networking. While practicing these skills, applying to smaller companies for internships and reaching out will be the best bet on getting an internship freshman year.
Moving on to my sophomore year, I really stepped up my networking abilities. I was able to land an internship at a local medical device company near me the previous summer that heavily improved my resume. With this in my back pocket, I went into the career fair, trojan talks, and specific company recruitment events with confidence. Confidence is key in getting an interview. You don’t want to come off as cocky or better than everyone, but you want to highlight the skills you have gained. Even if I was unable to land an internship, I would have been able to talk about the side projects I work on at home that utilize the design process, financing, and development of my final product. From my added experience I had significantly more success in getting interviews, but due to the global pandemic, the internship program I was a part of got canceled.
Now, I am in my junior year. Over the summer, I continued working on home projects and was able to find a job in supply chain. This is the make it or break it year. At USC, recruiters are primarily looking for juniors and if you want to work for a large company, you really have to stand out. Since everything was virtual, all events were held through zoom. I attended the career fair, where you would sit in waiting rooms for different companies and get to speak with a recruiter one on one. My elevator pitch was a hit and I was able to spend more time talking to the recruiters. We went over my professional and personal experiences and I was able to get multiple interviews with different companies ranging from aerospace, medical, and tech. This gave me an opportunity to learn about a wide range of industries while interviewing. I also attended company specific events, which largely showed the company that you held interest in them. From all these interviews, I was able to land an internship in an aerospace advanced manufacturing department.
Utilizing the early years of college to gain interview confidence and grooming your professional skills is crucial to land an internship at a large company your junior year. There are so many companies looking to recruit USC students that landing internships mainly require showcasing your abilities and being genuine in your interviews. With the recruitment opportunities here, finding internships could not be made easier. It is all about finding the opportunities and crushing the interviews!