Posted by Liz Wick on
Monday, October 08, 2012
Internships are a very important part of your educational experience. As fall recruiting gets into full swing, we have asked one your peers, Kerianne Halpin, to talk to you about her internships and pass on some great advice to those of you who are looking for an internship or just thinking about one. Kerianne is a senior Management major with an Entrepreneurship and Innovation minor.
Ever since you’ve entered college, you’ve been bombarded with the daunting message that you must get an internship to get a job and ultimately to succeed in your life. Well I’m here to say the same thing, but instead of confirming this message mindlessly, I’m here to explain to you how it has helped me grow, learn, and why it has been pivotal to my success as a student and business professional. Having an internship has been unmet, in terms of professional and personal development, than any other experience I have gained during my time attending college. Through interning, I have learned responsibility for myself in a professional environment, developed my skill set, and gained connections in my industry. I believe these invaluable skills will be a catalyst to my success in the future.
My first internship I obtained the summer going into my junior year at Seattle University. I decided I would stay stationed in Seattle; move off campus, and intern at the Woodland Park Zoo as an Event Production Intern. My responsibilities consisted of providing support to the full time event staff on the day of various events including Zoo Tunes, weddings, donor dinners, and other awesome events. Though this sounded like my dream internship when I first applied, I was quick to learn that interning is not as glamorous as it may seem. It is likely you will be asked to handle tedious tasks, carry heavy things, work really hard, and chances are you’re not going to get paid to do any of it! I’ll get this one out of the way and just say that working unpaid is not ideal. That being said, working unpaid opened up a whole new network of connections in my chosen industry, allowed me to gain experience that I can reference while interviewing for other opportunities, and most of all taught me you have to work hard to get the things you want most. Seattle has a network that is so interconnected that interning with any big, small, or medium sized company in the Seattle area means you are likely to develop a connection that leads to your next opportunity. Interning at the Zoo led me to obtain a paid position this past summer.
I have a bit of advice for those who are about to start an internship. First of all, be a sponge. Soak up every lesson that you can, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take the time to do this so you will walk away with the most knowledge you possibly can. This is your internship and ultimately your learning experience and it is up to you to determine what you will gain from it. Finally, there is a good chance you will feel discouraged and maybe even find yourself asking if it’s really worth it. Constantly remind yourself that you are opening so many doors for yourself. In a short amount of time you will be reaping the benefits of the skills you are gaining and the connections you are making.
For those who are seeking an internship, it’s as simple as this: be open-minded about what a position could offer you, reach out to those around you, and apply, apply, apply! Never underestimate the connections you will make here at Albers. Reach out to your professors as well as your friends and the lovely folks at the Placement Center! Check the Redhawk Network often. You have a million resources at your fingertips; you’d be down right silly not to use them. Don’t forget how far a well-written cover letter can get you and finally, wear a suit, bring your resume, and arrive 15 minutes early to interview!
I wish you all the best of luck in the future as students, interns, and business professionals!