By Robin Legator
North Shore Career Consulting

I’ve been putting this off. I really have been. But now it’s time. It’s the new year and that means time to take action and make things happen. Resolutions and stuff. I’ve been trying to write my first blog for North Shore Career Consulting for some time. I’ve been putting it off because I found it intimidating and I haven’t written one yet. What was I going to write about that would be useful that college students haven’t already heard? A blog about the importance of securing an internship in college? Or perhaps about what should or shouldn’t be included on your resume? All of these topics seemed trite and frankly, just boring. But then it hit me. It’s time. Just take the proverbial bull by the horns.

So, (drumroll please…) I’ve figured out the topic of my first “official” blog. Hopefully you’ll find this extremely relevant to something you or your child may be experiencing. Even though you may think it is too soon or you’re not ready, it IS time to begin your internship or job search. I will use my first blog to share some things you can start doing immediately to ensure success in securing the all important internship. Here they are….

    1) It’s ok to start slow...but start. Some action is definitely better than no action. If you have a resume or LinkedIn profile, make some small but meaningful tweaks. If you don’t, at least start thinking about the content and make a list of experiences, activities and other relevant information. Once you just start...and again, it’s ok to start with minor actions, you will feel empowered and hopefully soon you’ll start to feel somewhat confident.

    2) Start networking. This is a critical part of the total search process.

    a) Use this as a strategy to learn more about industries and career options. If you’re a college student, now is a great time to explore what area you are interested in finding an internship. If you have a broad major like Communications or Finance, there are so many avenues and possible opportunities for you to pursue. If you can narrow your focus, you will feel less overwhelmed. And, don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Also in this instance, I would argue that “something is better than nothing.”

    b) Find contacts -- both already in your network and new to your network. Start with friends, friends of your parents, parents of your friends...look for those who you’re comfortable speaking with about an internship or job. At least let your “network” know that you’re in the market. It pays to network as a recent statistic states that 70% of jobs are found this way. It definitely is WHO you (or friends, friends of your parents, parents of your friends) know. Also, if you are feeling a bit ambitious...and optimistic, think about who of these people could be effective personal references when it’s time to get hired.

    3) Make a list of what you would want people to know about you in an interview and think of examples for each one. Notice I didn’t say to practice interviewing, as that could be a bit intimidating. But by identifying a few of your best attributes and qualities that will make you a great addition to a company, you will both build your confidence, and possibly motivate you for your upcoming search.

    Robin Legator is the Director of North Shore Career Consulting in Highland Park, IL as well as an Executive Recruiter at CMC Consultants in Chicago. Find additional information at www.nscareerconsulting.net or she can be contacted at robin@nscareerconsulting.net.