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Saturday, March 2, 2024

The Editorial Board’s guide to finding a summer job

Our tips for making the arduous process of job and internship applications as painless as possible




Ah, the start of spring quarter. The sun is finally shining, the grass has never looked greener, the flowers are in bloom and your next existential crisis is just lurking around the corner. It seems cruelly ironic that just when motivation to do anything other than lie on the Quad, headphones in, basking in the warm weather is extremely low, you have to hunt for internships (or jobs, if you’re a graduating senior). It can be a daunting task to try and find a position that you’re not only interested in but also qualified for. As students, we, the members of the Editorial Board, are right there with you. And although we’re no experts on the subject, here is what we’ve learned so far.

The Internship and Career Center (ICC) on campus provides myriad resources for both finding job opportunities and being better prepared to apply and interview for positions. They offer workshops on resume and interview basics, finding internships, communicating with potential employers and more. They also host career fairs four to six times a year to help connect students with job openings. At the fairs, students can have face-to-face conversations about open positions with individuals who are extremely interested in employing UC Davis students. The next career fair is on April 19, and we encourage you to attend if you are hoping to find an internship or job this summer. For updates, you can subscribe to their newsletters.

UC Davis faculty can also be a useful resource for finding jobs within a particular field. Don’t be afraid to ask your professors more about their jobs or other opportunities related to their work during office hours. At least from our experience, professors are more than happy to talk about why they love what they do and help direct you to positions relevant to your major. At the very least, getting to know your professors on a more personal level can help you get a great letter of recommendation, which can bolster an application for any position.

Be sure to keep an eye out for newsletters from your major as well. We know it’s tempting to skim through those emails (or, let’s be real, delete them without reading them), but they often contain valuable information about job opportunities on and off campus. Organizations within your major such as the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Undergraduate Womxn in Economics Society can also be extremely helpful to facilitate professional connections, learn about different career paths with a given degree and simply meet other students in your major who may share your interests.

For other job listings, asking your professors where to look is a great start. In some cases, there may be sites specific to the job you’re interested in that professors can direct you to. You can often find campus jobs and UC Davis-related internships through Handshake, while Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn can be great sites to look for open positions anywhere in the world.

And in terms of actual applications, it’s important to be open-minded and perseverant. The fact of the matter is that you are sure to receive quite a few rejection letters before getting a job or internship offer. Often, positions will fill up quickly or hiring managers will have received too many applications by the time you apply. Make sure to apply for different types of positions — even those that may not be exactly what you’re looking for but are still interesting to you — rather than only focusing on your dream job. Who knows? Maybe you’ll unexpectedly find something you really love. All in all, diligence is key — carve out a little time every week to look for and apply to jobs. It’s easy to get discouraged, but the more often you are hunting for jobs and sending in applications, the stronger your chances are of receiving an offer.

While finding an internship or job is stressful for anyone, this feeling is only heightened for seniors facing the great unknown after graduation. And while we encourage you to be persistent in your job applications this quarter (and truly believe you’ll find something you love), it’s important to also acknowledge what an accomplishment it is to be graduating from college. We don’t offer any of this advice to intimidate you or make you nervous, and while it’s important to think about the future, it’s equally important to enjoy your last quarter in Davis. Pet a cow, take a walk in the Arboretum and sit on an Egghead. And, when you happen to have some time, apply for a few jobs. You’ve got this!


Written by: The Editorial Board