Tips for finding those internships

Laura Lofgren

Finding an internship can be one of the most strenuous tasks a college student faces during those final years at a university.

Kelley Stillwagon, career specialist at the Career Services Center, said the best place to start is with advisers and faculty.

“Many faculty are aware of internship opportunities or how to find information,” she said in an e-mail interview. “Students should use every resource possible to find an internship. Networking is (an) extremely important process in finding an internship.”

Doug Neitzel, assistant dean of Undergraduate Studies, commented that “very few people on campus would not benefit from an internship.”

If you’re wondering whether or not you need an internship to fulfill your requirements, chances are you need some sort of outside experience.

“Just graduating with a high GPA doesn’t get it anymore,” Nietzel said.

And when exactly is a good time to complete an internship? You won’t get a straight answer from any one person.

According to an internship guide article by Jenna Lebel, the best time is essentially anytime. Sixty-six percent of employers hire interns year-round, while other employers offer primarily in the summer – around 29 percent.

Robert Springer, an adviser in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said an internship is “the last thing before you springboard out into the real world.” He advises that if students wait until the end of their final semesters to get an internship, they will have the opportunity to make a “smoother transition” into the real world and the job aspect of the internship.

“It’s a probationary period,” Springer said. “You’re working with a potential employer. At the end of the internship, you may be offered a job. It’s a disadvantage if you have to tell them, ‘Oops! I have to go back to campus to finish up at school first.'”

When preparing your application for an internship, you will need a resume and a cover letter, according to an Associated Collegiate Press internship guide. On the resume, a few informational basics are needed. Start with your name at the top.

“Be sure to include phone numbers because busy editors almost always call if they are interested in setting up an interview,” the guide said.

Next, name any and all related experiences that you’ve had in your field of choice.

“Don’t exaggerate, but don’t be overly modest either,” the guide said.

Education is a must on a resume. It tells the employer what background you’re coming from. List the name of your school first, followed by your GPA.

“Sometimes applicants…list the relevant courses they’ve completed,” the guide said. “Put your most impressive credentials first.”

Include any extracurricular activities you’re involved in, which will attract employers and show your involvement and dedication to your work.

Lastly, you will need references. Make it easy on your possible-employer and have them readily available.

Before you send in your resume, read and re-read it, then read it again. There should be absolutely no typos whatsoever.

“That’s the fastest way to put yourself out of the race,” the guide added.

The Associated Collegiate Press emphasizes the use of a cover letter to “sell yourself.”

Address each letter to each individual employer you’re sending your resume in to. Explain why you want to work for them and what you have to offer.

Stick it all in an envelope addressed to the employer and cross your fingers. Stay positive, and hope for the best.

Above all, Springer said to take it easy.

“Don’t get all tied up in knots over internships,” he said. “Take it step by step by step. Figure out what you want to do and go meet with your adviser. Overall, don’t panic.”

Contact features reporter Laura Lofgren at [email protected].