Searching for a summer internship begins with creating a Hire Mason account and uploading your résumé. This allows companies to search student résumés for potential employees. To set up an account, click here. Two sample civil engineering résumés are available here.
HireMason also lists searchable jobs online. Many top-flight companies expect students to find them, however, and do not list their job openings online, so students are strongly encouraged to search beyond those positions advertized in Hire Mason. Career Services offers guidance on searching for jobs.
Students should search broadly for opportunities, including with local and national engineering firms; construction companies, including ones with current projects on-campus; local, county, state, and federal agencies; and non-governmental organizations that employ engineers, like World Bank and think tanks, for example. Being creative in internet searches can turn up lists of possibilities, especially through professional organizations, such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Society of American Military Engineers, the American Council of Engineering Companies, and the Design Build Institute of America. Online directories of firms are also available: see, for example, American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia; Society of American Military Engineers Northern Virginia Branch; and Virginia Engineer. Students should look for monthly newsletters from these organizations — some are online and others are hardcopy; these typically contain “business cards” of firms sponsoring the publication. And, of course, students should attend any relevant career fairs.
Person to person networking is invaluable. Local chapters of professional organizations frequently hold monthly meetings that include a presentation by a local firm, followed by a lunch or dinner. These meetings offer excellent opportunities to talk to practicing engineers. Practicing engineers welcome interaction with engineering students. Don’t start off with a request for a job, but don’t be shy about approaching engineers and asking about the work they do. Students are frequently permitted to attend these meetings at a reduced rate — ask the organizer about a student price reduction, even if the meeting announcement does not mention one.
Federal government jobs may be listed on individual agency sites, but they are also required to be listed on http://www.usajobs.gov/. The site is easily searched with keywords such as “engineering intern” for a position geared toward current students; or “civil engineer” for permanent positions. You can filter the search for location, also.
Opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research – often paid – also exist, for example through National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates. These programs provide an opportunity to do some interesting summer work; see if you like research; and check out another university. Several paid research opportunities are described at Job Announcements.