Opinion: The internship hunt

Katie Smith

Katie Smith

Some of the best lessons I’ve learned in college weren’t in a classroom, but rather at an internship.

Many majors at Kent State University require students to complete an internship for credit, which can seem like a daunting task, but it will also be one of the most beneficial parts of your undergraduate career.

First you have to figure out what kind of internship experience you want. My major, public relations, is broad. I had to decide if I wanted to intern in a corporation or at an agency. I chose an agency. After that I had to narrow what industry I was most interested in. I chose fashion. Then I had to decide if I was going to stay local or look in major cities. I chose New York City.

The internship hunt is comparable to the “Hunger Games.” There are many qualified candidates for few positions but the earlier you start, the better. You have to stand out. To do this, make your resume shine. Hopefully by the time you’re internship hunting, you’ve got relevant experience from clubs under your belt. Highlight those experiences on your resume and relate them to your personal career path. Before I started sending my resume out, I visited the Career Services Center during drop-in hours to have my resume critiqued. I would suggest all students do this.

After I knew what kind of internship I wanted, and my resume was proofed and polished, I used Google to find agencies I’d be interested in interning for. I began sending my resume out, and I was pleasantly surprised when I heard back from various agencies. You won’t get an offer for every internship you apply for, but it’s also not going to hurt you to try. I also think you’ll be surprised with the amount of positive feedback you receive. Kent State prepares us for the business world, and employers know that.

So after you’ve sent your resume out, you’ve set up an interview, and now you’re freaking out. Don’t. Stalk everything about the company you’re interviewing with. It sounds creepy, but it will pay off. They’re going to ask why you want to intern there, who their clients are, what they do, and how can you help them. The more prepared you are, the more at ease and confident you’ll appear in front of the interviewers. Impress them, and you’ll probably secure the internship.

The harsh reality: not all internships pay. I encourage you to find one that does, but don’t be disappointed if the one you land does not. The experience you get from an internship is invaluable.

If your major doesn’t require an internship, I would still encourage you to find one because the hands-on experience you receive will help you see what your future career will really be like.

Contact Katie Smith at [email protected].