Like most freshmen, I was very so utterly lost and overwhelmed when I started to look for internships in my spring quarter of my freshmen year. Safe to say it was a very rough beginning. My resume looked awful, I didn't know handshake (UCLA's career portal) even existed, and overall did not have a clue on what I wanted to do career-wise. Fortunately, with a lot of trial and error, tears, and the help of amazing mentors and friends I was able to catch a finance internship opportunity with an EB5 company. And here are the steps I've learned in this process:
1. EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM
It is never too early to apply to anything! In fact, most larger companies with freshmen internship programs close their recruiting cycles early on in winter quarter. Which is why these internships tend to be less competitive because most freshmen don't know about them! Which is why you should definitely apply early on.
2. MAKE YOUR RESUME AND LINKEDIN ON FLEEK
For resumes, I found that the most effective way to create a professional resume is to ask for help from upper-classmen friends who have experience with writing resumes. Initially, I tried following resume formats that I found online but realized that they were very disorganized and in a less appealing format to recruiters. In addition to resumes, it is so important to have a professional looking LinkedIn as it is not only a way for you to find internships, but for recruiters to reach out to you.
3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR SCHOOL'S CAREER PORTAL
I, unfortunately, did not find out about my school's career portal, Handshake, until after I found an internship. It is such a great method to apply to internships since companies are specifically looking for students at your school, unlike LinkedIn where people from all schools can apply.
4. INTERNSHIP FAIRS, RECRUITING EVENTS, AND CONFERENCES ARE A MUST
As most freshmen come to realize in a panic, it's very difficult to find internships that want freshmen. This is why it is so important to attend internship fairs and recruiting events. Attending these events let your campus recruiters know that you're interested in their company so that even if they are looking for upperclassmen, they will definitely notice your name on a future application. Also, these people could potentially refer you to other firms which is what fortunately happened for me. At a UCLA careers event, I talked to a recruiter who was only taking sophomores and above that year who was great enough to refer me to the EB5 company that I ended up interning at.
At the end of the day, don't stress too much on landing a summer internship freshmen year. This should be a fun experience where you get to explore career opportunities so try to enjoy the rough ride!