Monday, April 15, 2013

The Beginning of the End

My partner and I are entering into our last section of the internship - Food Service.  It's only about another 9 weeks and we'll finally graduate from the UMD internship program.  I really can't believe how fast time flies.  It feels like it was only the other day we were all sitting together in orientation wondering about what was to come in our program.

Now that we are nearing the end of the program, many of us interns, including myself, are looking towards the near future - what jobs should we apply for and when should we take the exam.  As exciting as graduation is, applying for jobs and writing up resumes can be quite stressful.  Plus, most of us are planning on taking the exam as soon as we can.  So that's a lot of studying on top of that resume writing.

In order to stay focused and keep the stress at bay, I've come up with a few good tips on how to get ready for the internship graduation, jobs and the RD exam.
  • Resumes and cover letters.  Dig up your resume and start tweaking!  Add in all of the experiences and activities you've completed thus far in the internship.  This will take a while to complete, so give yourself enough time to build out a well rounded resume.  Also, write up a cover letter template that you can change with each job you apply for.
  • When to look for jobs.  Each preceptor or internship director will give you a different answer.  But I've found that beginning to get an idea of WHERE to find jobs and WHAT they require in their applications is a good thing to know.  Start scoping out the scene about 3 months prior to graduation.
  • Network!  Much of this internship is about networking, making connections and finding great friends in this field.  Reach out to your preceptors, friends or other colleagues that may be able to help you get a foot in the door.  Most are more than happy to help you out!
  • Know when you want to take the exam.  Keep a plan in mind when you're thinking about when you should take the RD exam.  This will help you determine a good study schedule.
  • Study, study, study.  There are a lot of great resources out there to help you study and ace the RD exam.  Pick one, or two and get down to business.  A lot of money can be spent on special study guides.  However, a copy of the Inman CD's and book is a great and cost-effective way to go.  You may even be able to borrow a copy from past interns (hint, hint!).
So, wish us all luck as we get nearer to graduation, the RD exam and the real world.  Keep these tips in mind as you progress through the internship next year.  That way, you'll have a somewhat stress free end of the internship!  Good luck!

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