The Duke University Career Center is excited to welcome you to your Master's program. We are looking forward to meeting you this academic year.
Many Master's students are surprised to find that for a number of industries, recruiting for internships begins early in the fall semester. Because this happens so soon after you arrive, we want to provide you with information and resources to help you prepare for your search before you arrive on campus.
Here are our top 5 suggestions for being prepared:
1. Define Your Objective
It is important that you know what type of internship opportunities you are looking for.
What industries are you interested in?
What types of positions? What do you want to gain from the experience?
What companies are you interested in?
A student intern recently gathered data on the internships and full-time positions of Duke Economics Master's alums. If that interests you, watch this video.
Consider the famous brand names that you know, and then explore other options including small- and medium-sized organizations using the Similar Companies features on LinkedIn and/or Google Finance.
If you are an international student, check on myvisajobs.com to see if companies have a history of sponsoring international students.
2. Meeting Professionals & Recruiters
The strongest way to find internships is to talk with professionals and recruiters. If you are searching in the U.S., hiring managers will pay more attention to applicants who have met someone at their organization compared to applicants who only submit a resume.
To read about networking, we recommend, How to Network Like an American by Judy Shen-Filerman. American and international students can benefit from the insights and excellent examples that the author shares. Two more detailed books we recommend are Networking for Nerds by Alaina G. Levine and Power Ties by Dan Beaudry.
Search LinkedIn for people to talk to about companies and positions. See if you can find people with a similar background as you or who graduated from Duke or other institutions you've attended. It is a good idea to request an
to learn more about their backgrounds, education, experiences in that industry, and advice they have for you. Just don't ask for an internship directly as that can make people feel uncomfortable; instead, build a professional relationship and gain mentorship. Once you start your graduate program, you'll be able to access the Duke Alumni Directory to contact people of interest.
For international students wanting help with learning American culture, you can watch these videos on how to make small talk, the job search process, and how to talk about your experiences. Interact with Americans in your program and in the local community as often as possible by finding an American roommate, volunteering with a Durham organization such as Habitat for Humanity, or meeting up with American classmates socially.
3. Fall Career Events at Duke
The Fall Career Fair is our largest and it takes place on Wednesday, September 20. Other career fairs for your first semester include TechConnect; Nonprofit & Government Career Fair; Ignite Your Internship Search; Virtual Diversity Career Fair; Duke Entertainment, Media, Arts Network (DEMAN) Weekend; and the NC Master's and PhD Career Fair. Check our events page for more information on these fairs. We also offer guides to help you prepare for these fairs.
Information Sessions are hosted by employers, to introduce you to their organizations and answer your questions. Once classes start, you can check our calendar of information sessions and other events on CareerConnections. We list other career events on CareerConnections such as workshops and labs that are designed to help you conduct your internship search, prepare your applications, and practice your networking skills.
4. Preparing Resumes and Cover Letters
While the best way to apply for jobs is networking, you will still have to submit application documents such as a resume and a cover letter. This summer is an excellent opportunity to polish up these documents and we can continue to assist you when classes begin.
Use the guides to writing resumes and cover letters on the Career Center website. The Duke Economics Department also has a detailed guide to writing resumes and cover letters for a variety of different career paths such as consulting, nonprofits, law, finance, insurance, banking, and project management.
The resume you submit will likely be one or two pages long, but it can be helpful to keep a longer master resume that describes all of your experiences. Look at some internship descriptions on LinkedIn and company websites to see how you can use some of their key words and phrases in your own resume.
5. Setting Goals
- Searching for internships is a lengthy process, so setting goals for yourself is important. Consider using some of these goals.
- Create a list of 10 professionals that you want to talk with or meet, and explain why you want to talk to them
- Identify 10 organizations that have internships that interest you. In a few sentences, explain why these organizations made your Top 10 list.
- Write a master resume and a starting cover letter using the resources above
- Make a plan to attend career events
You can also develop goals around communicating your strengths, motivation and fit with employers and obtaining key skills needed for your careers of interest.
In the meantime, we wish you safe travels, and hope to see you in a couple months.