Is a summer job like a summer internship and how important is it?
Employers may use the terms summer job and internship interchangeably. However, in general, summer jobs and internships do vary in some ways. Typically, summer jobs include positions such as camp counselors, wait staff, administrative help, and retail sales. Internships tend to be much more structured, include more training and supervision, and are designed specifically for college students. Both summer jobs and internships are means by which to gather work experience, although an internship might offer a student an experience that is more closely related to full-time opportunities after college.
For freshmen and sophomores, summer jobs can be very useful. A position in a nonprofit organization or as a camp counselor can help students to build a set of skills, including leadership, program development, time management and organizational skills, that they will be able to use in jobs they hold throughout their lives. As students finish their junior year however, internships become more important. The structured, professional environment of most internships helps students to evaluate if the experience is something they want to pursue in the long term. In some cases a full-time job offer can result from a successfully completed internship the summer between a student's junior and senior years.
Internships and summer jobs can be very valuable learning experiences for students. The positions offer students the opportunity to test out different fields to gauge their interest in pursuing a particular field. Employers interviewing for permanent, post-graduation positions, consider internships students have held during college in their selection processes as well.
When is the best time to look for a summer job or internship?
Students are encouraged to begin their search for internships relatively early, depending on the internship that interests them. Some highly selective internships have deadlines as early as November 1 for the following summer but most freshman and sophomores are able to find an internship or summer job if they begin the search in January or February. While it is ideal for students to start their search for summer opportunities early, career counselors will work with students to help them strategize for a search throughout the academic year and during the summer.
How can my son or daughter meet potential employers?
There are many opportunities for students to meet potential employers throughout each year at Princeton. Employers and alumni from different fields participate in career panels, there are a variety of career fairs on campus, and many employers conduct presentations about their organizations for students. Many companies, organizations and government agencies recruit students for permanent and internship positions through the on-campus recruiting program. This program is managed through an online computer system called TigerTracks. The system allows students to view job postings, submit resumes electronically and even schedule interviews. Students are encouraged to attend a TigerTracks orientation each year at the beginning of the year to learn about the system and any new features that have been added in the annual update of the program.
Is the on-campus recruiting program the only way for a senior to search for a permanent position?
Every student is encouraged to develop an individualized job search strategy, as organizations in some fields, such as nonprofit, health care, and publishing do not normally use campus recruiting. Students should learn about the hiring processes of the fields that interest them, as different fields have different timelines for hiring permanent employees. Counselors in Career Services can lead students to resources to search for positions as well as create networking opportunities with professionals in the student's field of interest. Career Services has a database called the Alumni Careers Network of over 4,000 alumni in a diverse range of career fields who have volunteered to talk to students about what they do and provide career advice. The Career Services website also lists links to job search websites in a wide variety of occupational fields.
What do employers look for in a candidate?
In general, employers look for students who are highly motivated, able to communicate their ideas clearly and concisely, and can demonstrate skills in leadership and teamwork. Employers also consider a candidate's academic background, appearance, their comfort level with the interview process and the initiative taken throughout the entire job search process. The skills that students need to demonstrate to employers are the cornerstone of a Princeton education and with a little practice, even the most timid student can become a good interviewer. Students are encouraged to work with a career counselor to create a job search strategy as well as practice the skills that will help them succeed in the process.
How will Princeton’s grading policies affect my student’s internship or job search?
to read more about the new changes to Princeton's grading system. Please contact us at (609) 258-3325 if you have any questions or concerns about how this change will affect your son or daughter.