In the Strategic HR Management specialization, recruitment for summer internships begins as soon as the first-year student arrives on campus—and sometimes even before then! This post outlines some of my thoughts that culminated in accepting an internship that perfectly fit the experience I wanted.
How I Approached My Internship Search
“Do not get picky until you have offers.” This advice was the guiding light for how I approached job postings and conversations with recruiters. Like most MBAs, I am a career switcher. I am pivoting from supply chain management to strategic human resource management. Because of this, I knew I needed to work hard to highlight the transferable skills that would allow me to be successful in the HR world. I knew the general area of HR I was interested in, but I didn’t want that to limit where I applied; thus, keeping an open mind and being curious were key to my methodology. This mindset guided my approach to securing internship offers through conferences and leveraging my network.
Conferences with a career fair component are a great place to start your internship search. Organizations like The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, National Black MBA, Forté Foundation, Prospanica, MBA Veterans, and Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) are filled with opportunities for everyone. Conferences provide an interactive setting to expose you to new companies and learn more about ones on your radar. They also provide a chance to professionally develop through workshops and, of course, expand your network to land a job. I attended Orientation Program (OP) with The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. OP offered a job board prior to the event with open positions. Once this was available to attendees, I began reading through the HR-related postings and looking for key competencies. These competencies would indicate how I should tailor my resume and cover letter for that specific company. Last, when it comes to attending these conferences, recruiters are looking for students who are engaged and prepared. I made sure to ask thoughtful questions, engage with speakers, and contribute to the conversation wherever appropriate so that I could stand out.
Leveraging My Network
LinkedIn and Wisconsin’s career services team were great resources I leveraged to search for job opportunities. LinkedIn allowed me to filter on certain companies and search for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd connections. For example, Danaher Corporation was on my radar, and I used this search method to connect with someone who I worked with at a different company in 2013 but currently works for Danaher. We reconnected and they gave me some great insight into the company. Additionally, they pointed me toward more individuals I should connect with at that organization.
Another coffee chat I set up was with an alum of Indiana University that I met two years prior. That conversation went so well that they used the internal system to recommend me when I was going through the interview process for their company. I used LinkedIn’s search intentionally to gain certain perspectives at various levels within my target companies. It really helped me understand how a given organization’s HR department worked.
I also used Wisconsin’s career services to constantly get feedback on my job search process and check in when I scored interviews with my top companies. That team is great for pointing out the things I wasn’t thinking about or preparing for my conversations with recruiters. Having a professional sounding board is essential throughout this process.
By the end of my search, I secured four internship offers! All of my hard work had truly paid off and I was left with the good problem of figuring out which offer to choose. Throughout this process, I discovered I wanted a rotation program with enough flexibility to create my own career path. For this and other reasons, Microsoft’s HR2P Internship became the perfect fit for my personal values and career goals. I look forward to starting that journey in the coming weeks!