Sun, Sand, and a Summer Internship
Posted on May 27, 2014 by Madison Moore '15, media and communication student.
500 hours of internship experience.
Such an overwhelming number to see as a Delaware Valley College undergrad, and it seemed impossible to achieve in just four years.
Over the past three years, I have found a few things that have made me successful with landing internships that have boosted my resume, strengthened my skills, and have allowed me to make long lasting connections with professionals for my future career.
To start, I began to make connections with people in the industry. Journalists, reporters, business analysts, freelancers, designers, professors—you name it, if I came in contact with someone who could share some wisdom or help me in the internship process, I began to network with them. I can’t tell you how many business cards I have gotten taking the train, just from small talk on weather and last night’s football game. When you are out, you have to look at everything as a networking opportunity; a chance to make connections that will further your chances at getting internships.
These connections have aided me in the search for internships. When it comes down to you or another candidate, it’s all about who you know and how that person can say you are fit for the job. Earlier this year, I talked about my career goals with one of my mentors, ACT 101 counselor Susan McGovern, and as it turns out, her husband is the executive news producer at Philly.com, an online news publication. She saw I was a hard worker and I had a passion for news, so she recommended I get in touch with her husband. Having small connections like that will only increase your chances at getting an internship, and now, this summer, I will be interning at Philly.com.
From networking, I’ve found that you need to get people to like you. That sounds obvious, but I found following the cliché “be yourself” will help in getting an internship. Employers want skillful, knowledgeable and experienced interns, but they also want someone with personality and expressiveness. If you seem like a walking resume, chances are you will not stick out from the rest. I once was on an interview with routine questions, and the employer asked me, “What’s one thing that people don’t know about you?” Instead of answering with a standard reply, I smiled and said, “I’m a cat lover, but I promise you, I won’t bring any hair into the office.” Putting on your best smile, acting natural and confident, and just being yourself will set you ahead.
It’s also rare that internships will just fall into your lap. You have to reach out, and you have to go and find these opportunities yourself, and from there, you can use the people you have networked with for help. One of the reasons I found an available internship at The Intelligencer, a daily newspaper with an office location in Doylestown, was because I reached out showing an interest in the company. I had just finished my freshman year of college, but the editor of the paper was impressed with how determined I was, and that I reached out myself.
Getting involved on and off campus, and throughout your college career can also help you in getting an internship. Leadership roles, community service, special assignments in the classroom, clubs and organizations—employers want someone who is staying busy, not someone who sits in their room and watches Netflix all night.
As much as we hear it, the four years of college goes by before you can say “graduation.” Be captain of the debate team or president of the knitting club. Use the career resources in that building you always pass, and network until your hand starts to cramp. That way, when you are handed your diploma, you’ll be ready.