Pahel-Short recommended that students curate good relationships with professors who might write them recommendation letters one day. She emphasized the importance of choosing programs with good support systems.
Students hoping to exercise their networking skills should consider connecting with alumni on LinkedIn, through their department or through the General Alumni Association.
“Very often, (UNC graduates) are very happy to help current students,” said Miller. “The University provides several structures, but a lot of it is just that direct communication. We find it’s usually that Tar Heels want to help Tar Heels.”
“Students with questions on any topic can come in for an appointment or a drop-in session so that UCS can cater to their specific needs,” Miller said.
Miller had a bevy of other tips for job-hunting students — for example, most industries won’t notice the difference between a professional headshot and one taken on an iPhone.
“Our goal is to customize the experience to them,” Miller said. “Of course, we’re going to go over all of the general resources that are available, but if someone says ‘My interest is this type of company or to be in this location,’ we can then customize that conversation to them to make sure that we’re getting them connected to all of the right resources.”
In addition, Miller encouraged first-years to think about internships.
“I don’t want them to rule things out, but think about things that they can be doing early on, even as a first-year or a sophomore, that are going to help give them some direction and make them more competitive because that’s what companies are expecting now,” Miller said.
Senior Eric Zhou, a computer science major who interned at IBM and Capital One, agreed. He attended Capital One’s Software Engineering Summit in the spring of 2017, a full year before his internship with Capital One last summer.
Zhou went to the UCS representative for the Department of Computer Science for help with formatting his resume to tech industry standards and general proofreading. He also emphasized the importance of applying to as many places as possible.
Students looking for work in any field don’t have to feel limited to organizations catering specifically to their interests.
“Sometimes because of the high-profile nature of some of UCS’s events involving lots of business-oriented things, students interested in other areas may feel like UCS doesn’t have anything for them,” Miller said. “I’d like to underscore that that’s really not the case. We have resources for students interested in the arts, in humanities, in libraries or any other area.”
UNC students setting off on the long, stressful and exhilarating journey to landing their dream internship have many resources at their fingertips — they just have to take initiative, reach out and grab them.
“I just want students to know that there are 20 of us here standing on the sidelines, waving our hands and saying ‘We really want to help you!’” Miller said. “It’s optional, and it’s really up to the students to seek UCS out, but we’re really excited to get to know them because Carolina students do amazing things, and we want to help them do amazing things.”