The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Students gain an edge in internship preparation

A group of SMU students learned about the importance of obtaining and preparing for internships that would prepare them for success in their future careers on Wednesday.

The Hegi Family Career Development Center’s workshop entitled “Land an Internship” gave students the basics of how to make the most of networking and developing their skills now. The event was held in the Hughes-Trigg Atriums.

Representatives from the Career Center explained that internships are now a requirement among most employers, who may not consider students for full-time positions without one, if not several internship experiences. Students were recommended not to wait until their senior year to pursue an internship.

“You can do an internship whenever you’re ready, and whenever you’re interested,” said Elke Hardt Arnold, assistant director of the career center.

Arnold explained how an internship is any career-related experience that allows students to expand their professional skills, explore job possibilities and learn about the world of work. These experiences can be paid or unpaid, and possibly for academic credit.

Arnold advised students to start applying early in the year, since larger companies start recruiting and placing interns as early as January, and some deadlines have already passed. Smaller and local firms may still have openings, but it is best to take note of each company’s deadlines.

Arnold also suggests that students explore internships in areas they are passionate about.

“None of you are defined by your major,” Arnold said. “Think about how you want to spend your time, what type of environment you want to be in and what skills you have to offer.”

Because many positions can be found through networking, Arnold suggested building relationships with friends and faculty and letting them know in what you are interested.

She also suggests using spring break as a time to network. Whether while lying on the beach or skiing on the slopes, students might come across potential contacts who have great connections, so it is best to take advantage of the extra time.

Students are encouraged to visit the career center for help in a variety of job-preparation activities from resume critiques to practice interviews. The career center also has a Career Library where students can go through job binders and other resources, including a “Book of Lists,” which ranks companies in various fields so students can have an idea of who to target.

The Hegi Career Center Web site also has an assortment of resources that can get students on the right track in their internship searches, from links to a variety of placement sites to handouts with helpful information. MustangTrak is one of the tools on the Web site, and features a database of employers in which students can look for job openings and even upload their resumes to complete the application process online.

There are also several other internship program opportunities listed on the Hegi Web site, such as the ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program that has opportunities for placement in non-profit organizations, for which students are awarded a stipend for the eight-week program. Students can also look at specific employer’s Web sites or look at departmental listings for more possibilities.

Once a student lands an internship, there are also some things they can do while working at a company to make the most of the opportunity. Jessica DuBois, Employer Relations and Alumni Liaison at the career center spoke about how conduct as an intern at a company is very important. She urged students not to play games or browse inappropriate Web sites like MySpace while on the clock, and even gave an example of how one girl lost the opportunities to work at two different jobs because employers had shared the information that she had been slacking at work and was constantly on MySpace.

“You can’t be the CEO during the internship, but make the most of the opportunity,” DuBois stated, referring to that fact that students may have to do certain tasks they may not enjoy when they first arrive at a company.

DuBois encouraged students to do everything with a smile to make a good impression on employer, and to ask for things to do to be challenged. Students should define their expectations and set goals ahead of time, and meet regularly with supervisors. She also says to take advantage of the time to ask questions about the company and culture.

Other tips included being sensitive with confidential company information, and not to burn bridges with recruiters or employers.

Solomon Odom, a junior and corporate communications and public affairs major stated that though he had already experienced internships before, he still took something new from the workshop.

“I learned how I should follow up with employers after sending in my resume, and I also found out about the resources on the Career Center’s Web site and the job binders in their office,” Odom stated.

The main advice to be taken from the workshop was that internships can be powerful tools for students to learn about what careers interest them. They should continually network with others to in order to find a position that best fits their skills and interests.

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