Monthly Archives: April 2010

SUCCESS STORY: Vinita Phonseya

Major: Interior Design
Graduation Date: May 2011
Outreach Programs Intern, with the Education Department of the National Building Museum (NBM)
How did you find your internship?  
Through the organization’s website. They list all of the internship opportunities online. 
How the Career Center helped you along the way? 
The career center provided me with help writing guides for my resume and cover letter. Jeanette also reviewed and gave suggestions to edit and stregthen my resume and coverletters via email if we weren’t able to meet. She provided a helpful interview preparation tool and informed me of interview and position acceptance etiquette I would not have known on my own.
Any insights that you have for current students? 
Do not restrict yourself to specific positions or your “ideal/dream” position. Because it is harder to find internships, don’t only look for ones that are advertised or posted. consider all areas/positions with in your field of interests. Helpful advice I got from an alumna was that even just physically working in the environment of your field or industry of choice is still beneficial because you will still be surrounded with those specific professionals and will become more familiar with procedures, the language, etc. Don’t mass email your cover letters resume etc but rather make them as specific to yourself as possible. A great way to get your foot in the door is to visit offices and ask for informational interviews. It may be awkward and come off as pestering to you, but it is common for them to receive requests you will be surprised how much professionals love to speak to students and are interested in what is taught now a day. How a company is perceived on a website and how they are in reality can be totally different. A first hand visit is the only way to find out. Reach out to your professors and ask if they have any relevant contacts. Professors often keep in touch with alumni and are happy to give out emails. I was able to meet an alumna, after getting her email from my professor, who working in DC for lunch and she gave the inside scoop of the design scene in D.C. My best advice is be persistent. If you truely want that opportunity you will be on top of checking in with the application process, sending out follow up emails, know every info tidbit about the specific company etc. My internship application to the NBM was my 3rd attempt to be involved with the organization. I applied for a summer camp job summer 2009. Never heard back from them and I did not follow up. I tried to volunteer over winter break 2009, but was told they only take long term yearly committed volunteers. After I sent my internship application online, Spring 2010, I did not get an email response to set up an interview as the auto reply email said. After my follow up email a week later I was told that an email was “sent” to me the day after they received my application. I personally think it was just a test, because I have no records of that email. At first I thought I pestering too much, but it was better than sitting back and just waiting. You are the one that wants them, they don’t necessarily have to want you.