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The summer is a popular time for students to pursue internships.  Just like any other job search, timing plays a key role in whether or not a student will land a sought after position.  Here is my insight on the recruiting process and what students should know to help prepare them for a successful job search.

"Timing is everything," "clock ticking"

In an Ideal World…
You are a student looking for a summer job, you read a job description, love the details of the position, meet all the requirements, and submit your application. Then, you wait for that phone call where an employer tells you that you are a perfect match and they want you to start ASAP!

In the Real World…
The same scenario could play out many ways:
1.  You find an ideal job, apply, get called for an interview, and hopefully land the position. This is obviously the most ideal outcome, but is rarely the case.
2. You find that same ideal job, apply, and never hear back from the company. This happens more often than you would think.  If you meet all the requirements, you might feel slighted that you were not contacted by the company.  There are many explanations as to why you may not get a call.

Here are a few to consider:
• The timing of  your application was not ideal
If a job was posted on May 1st and you apply on May 12th, even though the position is still posted, it’s possible they had a lot of applicants early on and have moved on to the interviews.  Even if you are well-qualified, the later you apply, the less likely they are to review your resume.
• Your resume didn’t clearly outline your qualifications
Just because you read through a job description and know you have all the required experience, if you do not showcase it well in your resume, you’re not painting a clear picture of how your experiences match up to the job.  I always recommend to students that they find the key words in a job description and plug those key words into their resume.  Many larger companies will receive hundreds of applications and may use keyword searches to narrow down the number of resumes to review.
• The position, though posted externally, was really for an internal candidate
This may not happen as much with part-time jobs or internships as it does with full-time positions, but it’s still helpful to be aware of.  For some organizations, it is easier to promote someone to a higher level position by posting the position and having them apply to it.  Other applicants are welcome to apply and may in fact be interviewed or considered for the position, but unless they are absolutely amazing in comparison with the internal candidate they have in mind, the odds of landing that position are very slim.

Since we’re living in the real world, you will rarely know what is going on behind the scenes for an organization’s recruiting process.  But being aware of the factors that play into you landing a position will give you a leg up in the job search process. Do you have any tips on internship/job search timing?

*Guest post written by Jennifer Weinmann, Educator – Student Employment Consultant for the IUPUI Office of Student Employment in Indianapolis, IN.

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