Next Summer: Getting an Internship
If you haven't got an internship by the end of this freshman year, don't feel bad - a solid majority of freshman engineering students are in the same position, and many companies only take rising juniors and above. Combine that with the fact that Freshmen haven't declared their major yet, and with the minimal experience that comes with only having one year under your belt, it's no surprise.
Next semester though? You can expect to have much better luck. You'll have your experiences as a freshman to talk to recruiters about, at the very least. Maybe you were on a design team. Maybe you did some early undergraduate research. In any case, the simple fact that you've made it through the two semesters you have will make you much more marketable to recruiters, and should give you much more to put on your resume. You’ll even probably have a more established LinkedIn page, which recruiters frequently check after they take your resume at a career fair. Sometimes they’ll even ask for it up front.
You’ll also want to go to more career fairs. If your first year was anything like mine, you probably only went to Expo and not a lot else. Once you’ve made a decision about your major though, you have a bit more options to specialize into. Each engineering major has a few career fairs that are specifically tailored to a certain field. For example, I managed to get an internship from a meeting associated with the Aerospace, Defense and Intelligence career fair. I’m aware of other fairs tailored specifically to Computer Science, Chemical Engineering, and other fields as well. Keep your ear to the ground and try to stay informed about these events and when they happen. In my experience the more specific career fairs are more personal, less crowded, and more relaxed – and as a result, it’s a lot easier to make a good connection with a recruiter there than it is at the bigger events like Expo or CAMEO.
So over the summer, clean up that resume and do some research about which of Virginia Tech’s career fairs are relevant to you. It’s possible that you’ll be able to figure something out with someone for next summer as soon as the upcoming fall semester.