While the spring semester may have only just started — meaning that students are just starting to get back into the swing of classes and commitments — it’s already prime time to get a jump-start on summer internship applications.
Internships provide students with opportunities to build resumes, network with people in their field and test the waters to see if the related field is even a career they’d be interested in pursuing. But, the question is, where do you start?
“Start with your professional network,” said Carlyn Crowe, internship coordinator for the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Talk to everyone you know, and tell them what you’re looking for. Use LinkedIn and other social media, too, but network in person with professionals whenever you get the chance.”
Many employers will receive hundreds of applications for just a couple of positions. Crowe said it’s important to appear knowledgeable about the business — it’ll help you stand out on resumes.
“Students should match their skills with the position,” Crowe said. “Read job descriptions carefully looking for key words and skills to use in your (cover) letter. Research the organization, learn about the corporate culture and match your letter accordingly.”
There are numerous portals for seeking out internships — at Drake alone there’s Career bluePrint and Drake Media Gigs.
Other popular websites include internshipfinder.com and fasttrackinternships.com. Those who wish to cast their net a little wider can peruse goabroad.com/intern-abroad and volunteerinternational.org.
Junior Sarah Laughlin took a more aggressive approach in finding internships. She started by contacting numerous sports teams in the Chicago area to see if there was any freelance work or if there were any internship opportunities available.
“I just contacted them even if they didn’t have any openings listed because you never know,” Laughlin said. “I figured the worst thing they would say is ‘no.’”
Laughlin’s persistence paid off, and in the end she landed a graphic design and advertising internship for the Chicago Sky of the Women’s National Basketball Association.
“I made my passion for sports clear in my cover letter and combined it with my love for advertising and design work,” Laughlin said. “The phone interview was probably the thing that sealed the deal for me. I was unable to go (to Chicago) because we were traveling for rowing, but on the phone, I made sure to turn a possible negative of not being there into a positive.”
During her internship, Laughlin was given the task of constructing advertisements for special events, uploading videos and pictures to the team’s website, creating and resizing images for the JumboTron at games and designing ticket deal advertisements for the ESPN website.
“It was a great experience,” Laughlin said. “The long hours were tough — going to games at 4 p.m. and not leaving until 1 a.m. because media needed to be uploaded to the Internet. But it was fun to interact with players and coaches, and it was nice being able to hook up my family and friends with free tickets.”
Recent graduate Clara Haneberg found out about her internship while scouring ed2010.com.
“It is a job/internship posting website that I basically stalked for months before finalizing my summer internship plans,” Haneberg said.
Haneberg was offered internships by: O, The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, The Knot, Money and People Style Watch, magazines, but in the end decided on W magazine.
“I ended up picking W because I really wanted to experience the fashion side of the magazine industry,” Haneberg said. “I’m a big believer in trying out different atmospheres while you are only committed to three months at a given place.”
As a fashion intern, Haneberg was responsible for handling clothing, shoes and accessory samples, though at times she was asked to perform the less glamorous job of fetching coffee and running personal errands for editors.
“Looking back, it was definitely a valuable experience, despite being completely exhausted and miserable at times,” Haneberg said. “I now know that ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ isn’t an exaggeration.”
Check out Career bluePrint to see if companies are recruiting on campus or if they have any openings.
Career bluePrint can be found under the ‘Student Services’ tab in blueView.