One of the first things you get when you commit to any college or university is an email address. It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to drop that super unprofessional Yahoo account you made when you were a pre-teen and instead start off on a clean slate with an “.edu” email address. I know I personally love being able to use my collegiate on my resumes and applications because it looks a lot more professional than my Gmail and it makes it easier to streamline all my important emails.
However, with this new, professional email addresses also comes mass emails, sent to you by anyone on campus, including, but not limited to, professors, other students, student organizations, and most frequently, your career advisor / advising department. Being busy college students, we all have the tendency to just skim these emails and delete them almost instantly, under the impression that they are just spam and will not really hold any value to our lives.
In the midst of this delete-ing spree that we all encounter, we forget how important these “spam” emails actually are. While it may differ from school to school, for the most part, the emails we get with the subject line “PLEASE READ: INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES” or something along those lines are actually really important. These career opportunities are directly related to your school and more often than not, the internships that are listed on these emails are those that are affiliated with your university and thereby flexible with your class schedule. I personally have found so many internships through the mass emails that my university’s career development department sends and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually sat behind someone in class and watched them delete these emails without even reading them.
As the world is evolving, so is the employment market and nowadays, your networking and connections are worth so much more than a GPA or transcript. More and more employers are deciding to look at an applicant’s experience and the connections they’ve made rather than the grades they received and the classes they took. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to actually read through the emails that you receive from your advisors, professors, career development department and previous employers.
I have seen my peers have gotten great internships at legislative offices, at the Hearst tower in NYC, local schools, major news networks such as CNN and CNBC and so many others. These internships and opportunities generally will not seek students out; you yourself have to go after them and it all starts with the email that you so quickly moved to the trash folder, thinking that there wouldn’t be anything there for you.
Networking is a crucial part of our world now, whether it’s through university emails, previous employers, professors, peers, etc. Almost every “successful” person advises college kids to take chances and jump at opportunities and then after jumping, continue that relationship with whoever caught them. If a professor, dean, advisor or peer lands you a cool internship, go out of your way to thank them and continue to email them every once in a while to share your successes and ask about theirs. You never know where and how you’ll come across and deleting these opportunities before fully taking them into consideration is just setting yourself back.