Get an internship, stay ahead of the curve

For students who haven’t figured out what to do with their summer, an internship might be a great choice. Assistant director of Career Servic­es Sandy Nowack said internships are a great boost to resumes. Nowack’s focus in Career Services is intern­ships.

“I think it gives students an edge over others who haven’t had it be­cause they’ve had actual marketplace experience,” she said.

Along with making students’ re­sumes more attractive to potential employers, internships can help stu­dents gain confidence.

“They see that their education does fit into the workplace, that they can do the job,” Nowack said.

After students complete an intern­ship, Nowack has them fill out a form that asks them about their experi­ence.

According to the responses they have collected, 97 percent of stu­dents would recommend that other students also complete internships, Nowack said.

Although the experience is valued by many students, internships are also a great opportunity for network­ing.

About a third of students who com­pleted internships last spring were offered positions at the end of their time with the company.

“It’s sort of like having a three-month interview with the company,” Nowack said.

While not all of those students decided to accept those positions, the offers reiterate what Nowack has found through employer evaluation of Whitworth interns.

“What we find is they really fall in love with our Whitworth students, be­cause the students work hard, they’re bright, they’re innovative, they have great ideas, they’re energetic and em­ployers love it,” she said.

While some of the more competi­tive summer internships have dead­lines that have already passed, many internships have lat­er deadlines or keep accepting applications un­til the position is filled. Students who plan to land a summer in­ternship are not yet out of luck.

“It’s certainly not too late at this point,” Nowack said.

Part of Nowack’s job is to meet with students to help them find potential internships, use the resources at the university’s disposal and learn how to contact employers and use their per­sonal networks, she said. However, Nowack is not the only resource stu­dents have available to them.

Career Services puts on three fairs every year to help students find op­portunities.

Each fall and spring there is a job/internship fair in the Hixson Union Building, which usually draws around 30 employers.

This spring the fair, which will be geared more toward summer intern­ships, will take place Thursday, April 14. The Internships Information fair for this year took place on Feb. 21.

Employers can also post jobs to the Career Services website. On the Job/Internship Search page students can search through internships that have been posted using a variety of criteria. The website contains mainly local op­portunities, but some out of state op­tions are available and students can search through internships by state.

The website is updated as employ­ers put up posts, so students would be wise to continue to check back to the site periodically, Nowack said.

“That is a wonderful resource that sometimes I feel like is untapped, be­cause I know at times there’s really good internships and no one is claim­ing them,” Nowack said.

When Nowack has good internship opportunities that haven’t been filled she often e-mails them to a profes­sor in the discipline that it most per­tains to. This allows the professors to share the opportunity with the stu­dents. Nowack tries not to send too many all-student e-mails, however when there are a lot of good opportu­nities she may send them out to the campus. There will most likely be an email sent later this year with post­ings for summer.

Students need not rely on univer­sity events to get connected. Students don’t always think about making use of their own network of family and friends as well as connections faculty members may have to find intern­ships, Nowack said. She found that this can be a great way to find oppor­tunities.

“The people that know you are the ones that will vouch for you and they are the ones that believe in you and will put in an excellent word for you,” Nowack said.

Some of the same services that Career Services of­fers to help students prepare to apply for jobs can help stu­dent in the process of getting an internship.

Both director Gordon Jacobson and assistant director Andrew Pyrc in Career Services do resume cri­tiques for students, Nowack said. Students can e-mail their resumes to careerservices.edu to be critiqued. One of them will read it and then set up a meeting with the student in or­der to discuss suggested changes or additions, Nowack said.

“A lot of students use that, it’s pretty easy, pretty slick,” she said.

Mock interviews are also available on request. This is a way for students to practice interviewing and get some tips on how to make the best impres­sion.

“For any student that’s interested it gives them a little taste of how it feels to have to think on your feet and be peppered with questions,” Nowack said.

After the mock interview is com­pleted there will be time for the in­terviewer to give the student tips on what he/she can do better.

Junior Priya Yeganathan complet­ed internships with the US Embassy in Sri Lanka during January 2010 and 2011. She found the opportunity in the summer of 2009 when she was looking at the U.S. Embassy website.

“I thought it would be a good expe­rience to be working at the Embassy, and then for my major I had to do an internship out of the country,” she said.

Yeganathan is an International Business major from Sri Lanka. Dur­ing her most recent internship, Yega­nathan worked on three main projects with their public affairs department.

She helped coordinate logistics for the South East Asia Conference for the U.S.-Sri Lanka Fulbright pro­gram. Yeganathan also worked on an Independence Day program, “Dayata Kirula,” a program that the Embassy puts on in conjunction with Sri Lan­ka’s Independence day on Feb. 4.

“The Embassy helps people in the rural areas get in touch with technol­ogy,” she said.

The embassy brought in new Apple products.

For Yeganathan, the best part of her internship was working on a relief program.

“Sri Lanka had floods when I was back home, which was in December, so the Embassy was working on re­locating people to new houses,” she said. “I got to actually communicate with people who had been misplaced by the floods; it was really great talk­ing to them, seeing all of the countries they had gone to and all of the trouble they were going through because of the floods.”

Although she did not have previous experience in international relations, Yeganathan said she found what she had learned in business operations was useful in her internship experi­ence.

“It really helped me to think ‘what are my goals toward this project?’ be­fore I got a big start on it, so I think that was one of the important lessons that I learned from taking that class,” she said.

Story and Graphic by Evanne Montoya

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