Oberlin Blogs

Internships, Cover Letters, and Resumes, Oh My!

May 1, 2024

Ariel Roberts ’25

It’s almost summer, which means it’s the dreaded internship application time! I've had my fair share of rejected applications, cover letter re-writes, and complete lack of response from companies. It’s not been all lows, though, and I've had some great support from CED, or the Career Exploration and Development office. I’m also participating in the Internship+ program, a new program providing funding for juniors with unpaid or low-paying internships, which has been a nice life raft for the choppy waters. 

I have to admit that the Internship+ program was my main motivation to work hard on my applications. Otherwise, I might have put off the apps to the last minute or not done the proper research and preparation. Instead, right at the beginning of the year, I was attending information sessions and workshops that helped me better understand what to expect. I also gained some useful practices for career planning and drafting my resume. Moreover, a lot of the initial internship browsing was done for me through Handshake. This is the CED’s main mode of communication for appointments, events, and of course, job openings. What makes it so great for finding internships is, one, it is connected to CED, and two, it uses your information to filter what internships would be best for you. Since it knows my major and class year, it provides suggestions for job posts that are asking for my specific profile. It’s nice to have a common site for internship searching so the CED advisors know what specific postings you might be looking at. It made starting the search a whole lot easier.

When I first started applying for internships, I focused on paid ones, because of course I want to have a paying job! I was also hoping to do an internship in Los Angeles, which I wouldn’t be able to afford without a full-time paycheck. Since paid internships are much more competitive, and this is my first internship, I wasn’t having much luck. Even though it would be ideal to have a paying internship, I realized I don't have to worry if I do get an unpaid one because I can get funding through the Internship+ program. I would at least get some support with my living expenses so I could take the fantastic opportunity to go to the film mecca itself regardless of the type of internship. While we can talk all about the ethics of companies not paying for interns' labor, it was nice to know that if I did have to take an unpaid internship in another city, I would have financial support for it.

The heart of CED is its many advisors. They have lots of hours for meetings and support. The advisor for Cinema Studies gave me an initial review of my resume that was super helpful for making sure I had the right language and the most relevant information. When I returned to his office anxious from the lack of responses to my applications, he offered to read any of my many cover letters and assured he was available for support through a simple email. This assuaged a lot of my worries as I faced rejection after rejection. If the resume review was not a requirement for Internship+, I might not have ever gone to his office, but I’m super glad I did and found out how helpful CED can be.

Another great aspect of CED is the peer advising hours. I originally went to these when I was planning my winter term project in Vietnam. It can be a lot less intimidating to talk to a fellow student who understands the process just like you, but also has a lot of great advice on how to move forward. They have a good amount of open hours, and the plus side is that you don’t have to make an appointment, you can just drop in. It’s a really nice thing to take advantage of, and maybe you’d even want to be a peer advisor yourself!

The internship process isn’t all blind hope, though it does take a lot of persistence. You may have to apply to upwards of 20 internships. You’ll hear back a lot of nothing. But if you fall, CED will be there to help pick you back up. They provide a lot of job support through many different resources. One of these resources is actually professional headshots, which is how I got my new profile picture! Snazzy, isn’t it? When you have resources to make yourself stand out as best as possible, you can feel a lot more confident about the already rocky application process. There’s a lot of unknowns as you work towards your future, but it’s always nice to know you have a helping hand.

Similar Blog Entries