As the spring semester nears the halfway mark, Career and Employment Services aids students in finding and applying to internships.
Kerri Keller, director of CES, said students might have seen and attended the career fairs held by CES. There was a fair in the fall, and in the spring semester there are fairs that are more individualized toward various majors.
“We also have an online system called ‘My CES Account,’ and as of today we have 440 internships listed in our online system,” Keller said. “We meet individually with students and when a student has a particular interest, work with them in their search.”
While students may be looking specifically for an internship within their field of study, there is an advantage in an internship where a student can step out of their comfort zone, Keller said.
“I think it’s different for every student,” Keller said. “I think if a student was questioning the particular major that they’re studying, they might want to develop some skills in another area or in a different setting than what might be typical for a particular major.”
Ana Vandermark, junior in marketing, said she could receive college credit for her internship this summer with FieldAware in Plano, Texas.
“The details are being worked out, but I would potentially be receiving credit for this internship, meaning that I am able to take other courses offered at K-State during my last semester that are not necessarily working towards my major,” Vandermark said. “I can take a fun class because I used my time well during the summer.”
Credit or no credit, many employers use internships as a specific recruiting strategy for converting interns into full-time hires, Keller said.
“Generally speaking, relevant, related experience is the top characteristic that employers are typically seeking in potential candidates, so experience related to your professional interest is very valuable and typically very marketable on your resume,” Keller said.
Keller said the sky is the limit when looking for an internship because a lot of companies and organizations — especially nonprofit organizations — may have a structured internship program advertised on their website. Students can also get a contact within the company and then articulate why they would be interested in interning with that organization.
Vandermark said she conducted a search independent of K-State’s programs and found her internship through a family friend.
“I am working with a marketing team and specifically will be doing a lot of target market research and analytics,” Vandermark said. “I will also be writing blogs to increase in-bound marketing efforts.”
Tyler Benson, sophomore in business administration, said there is pressure to find an internship, especially as a sophomore or junior.
“You need an internship to make sure you want to continue in the field you’re in and maybe potentially work at the place of your internship,” Benson said. “I’ve used the programs that K-State offers, and it was pretty helpful. They gave me good advice and other resources on how to apply online and potentially get one.”
Keller said it is important to present oneself as professionally as one would for a full-time job and not to just quickly slap together a resume.
“Come in and let CES look over your resume and make sure it’s representing yourself as effectively as it can,” Keller said. “A lot of students don’t think to list co-curricular experiences and unpaid experiences.”
Once in the internship, showing initiative can really make a positive experience for both the student and the employer, Keller said.
“Be prepared when you correspond if you’re invited in for an interview, and be prepared to share with that organization not only what you hope to gain but what you can offer as well,” Keller said. “You want to be able to show them that you will be a good contribution. Internships are a great springboard to other internships, so you need to think about how you can get experience before you go for a bigger internship later on in your K-State experience.”