By: Meghan Reinhardt, Vice President
This past spring, I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Florence, Italy for four months. But, as a junior public relations major, this made the spring internship search a little bit more difficult as I had both more distractions and obstacles to tackle during my search. It taught me how to effectively look, interview for, and nail (hopefully!) an internship no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Sadly, these tips will apply to me next spring for a job search so fall graduates, listen up too!
- Start early! It is NEVER too early to start looking into companies you might be interested in to see when their recruitment process begins. By researching early, you can lay out a plan of when you want to work on your application, make sure you stay on top of deadlines and even get to know the company better. There is nothing worse than missing a deadline for an internship you really wanted, so mark all the important dates in your calendar!
- Keep up with your connections. As public relations and all communications majors should know, your connections are your best friend. I got my internship this summer through my supervisor from last summer. You never know who your connections know and what types of opportunities will open up just by talking to them. If you’re in a different country for a semester, shoot them an email to let them know about this new and exciting experience of yours! It’s the perfect opportunity to catch up. Even better, you could keep a blog of your travels and send that to your network.
- Be available. Depending on where you are in the world, time zones might be an issue. But, you will stand out if you go above and beyond to make sure you’re available for a phone call or Skype Interview. Recruiters and interviewers appreciate your ability to be flexible and adapt to their schedule. Whenever I was ending a phone call with them, they’d always mention how much it meant to them that I was able to halt my busy Italian-life schedule to chat with them. Do what you need to do to be available!
- Make sure you have a good phone plan. Phone issues will most likely happen to you unless you have a magical carrier. Test out your phone with your parents or friends before giving your number to a recruiter in hopes that it will work. This happened a few times for me so I would just always have my mom give me a call five minutes before every interview to make sure there wouldn’t be any issues.
- Follow-up! Recruiters will be impressed with your ability to be available. They’ll be even more impressed with your ability to follow-up and stay on top of things even if you’re abroad. Shoot anyone you talked to a quick ‘thank you’ email after every interview you have. Make sure you stay on top of the internship process and keep in contact with recruiters, because it’s easy for the internship search to slip away from you and leave you scrambling to find one before you come back to the U.S.
The bottom line is, while you’re abroad do everything you do regularly in an internship/job search. You just need to be more aware and slightly more on top of things because of the time difference and some technical issues that arise. While it’s easy to live the easy life abroad and not worry about a thing (including your summer plans), staying on-top of the internship and job search can be just as simple abroad.