So you're in college and you're home for the summer looking for a summer job. Maybe you're a recent college grad and you're hoping to land a full-time job so you've been applying like a mad person! But speaking of landing that awesome full-time job either now or in the future, it is becoming increasingly more important for college students to have an internship experience.
If this one item is missing from your resume, then best of luck getting a position at The McTigue Financial Group in Chicago. An internship is a must-have.
Not only are internships a key resume builder, but they offer a lot more hands-on experience in the field of study you are most interested in pursuing a career.
We decided to interview our very own intern at RedShelf, Meredith Stopka. Meredith is going to be in her senior year at Miami University of Ohio studying Accounting and this is her second summer with all of us here at RedShelf!
While away at school, Meredith is a member of the Tri Delt sorority and the Phi Chi Theta business fraternity on campus. But some of the most valuable experiences she's had have come from her internship experience. Previous to working with RedShelf, Meredith interned at TransUnion working closely with their budgeting department.
We asked Meredith why she initially wanted to apply for an internship:
M: I feel like Miami University really stresses that having an internship during your four-years of college is really important. The University does a lot to encourage the students to seek internship opportunities and they offer a ton of resources to help get you there. My parents also felt that I should look into applying for an internship over my summer breaks.
RedShelf: What resources did you use to look for available internship positions?
M: I utilized a lot of websites like LinkedIn and Internships.com. I also took advantage of Miami's career services page. We had a bunch of career fairs that were hosted on campus so I would always attend those when I could as well. Through the entrepreneurship department, they encourage students to apply for available internship opportunities, which is how I found out about RedShelf.
RedShelf: While some internships are paid, there are quite a lot out there that aren't paid. Do you feel like one is better than the other?
M: Honestly, I have been lucky enough to be compensated for both of my internship experiences by being paid hourly, and receiving college course credit hours. But, I don't think that makes the experience any "better" per say. I think the experience you gain from having an internship is preparing you for the real-world upon graduation and that is more valuable than being paid!
RedShelf: Why do YOU feel having an internship is important?
M: Besides the obvious being that having an internship is a great resume builder, you learn a lot of professional skills that you wouldn't get exposure to otherwise. For example, if you apply for various internships, think of all the interview experience you will get! Eventually, you will learn what responses employers are looking for and how to showcase your skills to make you a desirable candidate. Plus, you learn more about the industry you're in when you have direct exposure to it, which is something that your textbooks or college courses can't always teach you.
RedShelf: Do you think its crucial to have an internship in your field of study?
M: I think it's an added bonus if you land an internship in your field of study, but I don't think it is necessary. If anything, I think you might be pleasantly surprised to find that you might enjoy a certain part of your internship that you didn't know you would--and maybe some day want to make a career out of it!
RedShelf: Tell us a little bit about preparing for the interview.
M: First of all, research the company! You definitely don't want to walk into an interview and not know anything about the company. Try your best to understand what the company is all about, and why your passionate to work with them. If it's possible, I suggest trying to learn a little bit more about the person you are interviewing with as well. I always tend to go over my resume before the interview, too. I try to pick out key examples on some of the skills I have listed so I can explain my experiences a little bit more in depth.
RedShelf: During the interview, what were some of the questions you had? Any odd balls thrown at ya?
M: During the application process, I have had to write essays and even take a logic test (which was actually pretty tough). I've had multiple interviews where I had to take a personality test as well, to see if I would be a good fit for the position and the company. I think the hardest question I've ever gotten was, "What is your passion?" I think it is sometimes difficult to answer that question, because I am passionate about quite a few different things! An oddball question though..I was once asked "If someone were to write a book about you, what would it be titled?" Talk about being creative on the spot!
RedShelf: What was your favorite task or project that you got to work on during your internships?
M: That's a great question! Working with RedShelf has given me a lot of exposure to all aspects of the business. One day I might be helping with accounting, the next I might be helping with some marketing projects. One of my favorite projects was helping with the hiring. I found it to be really cool to help select candidates to be interviewed for some of the open positions. I also enjoyed putting together and the "Back to School Survival Kits" for our college bookstore partners!
RedShelf: Any last bit of advice for those interning right now or actively seeking an internship?
M: I think my number one thing to remember is that even if you don't think you are contributing, you are! So remember that everything you do has an impact on the organization or business as a whole.
Are you looking for an internship? Make sure to check out your school's career services to see what positions might be available! Otherwise, there are some incredible websites out there that will help you get started with finding an internship! Here are a few to get you started: