… then you should have started looking back in the summer! When I was an undergrad eons ago, we had the luxury of waiting until after winter break to begin looking for summer internship opportunities. Back then, nobody, save for a few truly dedicated students (and even fewer recruitment programs), paid much heed to what to do in the summer. Although, to be honest, the trend towards competitive internship search had raised its ugly head as I was graduating, as I increasingly heard whispers among my peers that so-and-so got an internship job as we geared up for winter holidays.
These days, we’re seeing that trend taken to an increasing extreme — during the very first week of this semester, for example (and we start the semester relatively early here at my university), I met with my advisee students, and a few of them had already started searching for an internship for next summer.
Which brings me to the advice for you today (if you’re looking for an internship; heck, if you’re looking for a job to be had by next summer!): START EARLY! How early is early? It’s never too early. Indeed, star students at A-schools begin thinking about their post-commencement real-world jobs when they’re juniors or even sophomores, especially if they want to get into finance or red-hot high tech. Competition for college entrance is fierce and getting fiercer each year (I shudder at the prospect of my kids writing their college applications); competition for high-quality jobs is even more intense, partly due to the shrinking number of such jobs in the U.S., partly due to the large number of foreign students that are allowed to take over some of these jobs (if you’re in this group, your chances are now probably higher than American citizens), and partly due to the increased information flow we have in today’s world. “The early bird gets the worms.” Don’t forget that.