We like to live in the present, but college is all about building for the future.
The college student’s best tool for that is actually leaving campus and finding an internship.
“Statistics show that 68 percent of all students in the United States – and that’s nationally – are doing an internship,” Paul Kwant, internship coordinator for the College of Business, said. “Who are they going to choose? Somebody who has work experience and a great resume, or someone who has a great resume?”
Internships are more important than ever, especially in highly competitive fields. Aaron Waltz, director of the professional golf management program, can attest to the value of internships as well. Waltz has his PGM students spend five semesters interning at three facilities over their four and a half years at Ferris.
“An internship, it’s not a summer job,” Waltz said. “An internship has to be something you want to be career focused.”
An internship, especially at 18 or 19, is vital for a student deciding which direction to take a career. With the internship playing such an important role, working hard to land the right one is key.
“[When] you do an internship, you don’t settle for an okay facility,” Waltz said. “You have to push yourself to be at the best facility possible, which means not living at home with mom and dad.”
Finding the right internship is only the first step for your search ,and Kwant advises students to take it seriously.
“Look for your top five, and be honest,” said Kwant. “Every student should figure out exactly what they want. Rather than just going after a general internship, you should focus on something that is a little bit more personal, something a student can really envision themselves being hired at.”
Kwant also laid out a number of tools he always has at the ready and advises students to use: Woofound, Onet.com, Indeed.com and LinkedIn being only a few. He urges students to visit his office in BUS 324 for any help, as he’s willing to go so far as to call companies to help students land interviews.
After finding a few potential landing places, it’s all preparation.
“You got to prepare for success, and you can’t overprepare from a visual and written presentation standpoint. That’s essential,” Waltz said. “If you don’t have an outstanding cover letter and you don’t have an outstanding resume, don’t expect to get an outstanding internship.”
Once you land at interview, preparation becomes even more important. Kwant advises students to research the company thoroughly and have five facts at the ready. Familiarity with the job can make or break the applicant.
Kwant also named the 2012 National Association of College and Employers Outlook Survey as a good place to find key skills that employers are looking for.
“You’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you,” added Waltz. “When the right fit’s there, the right fit’s there.”
In the end, finding the right internship is about using your resources, including friends, colleagues, advisers like Waltz and Kwant, resumes, cover letters and hard work.
After telling a successful friend’s story of living out of his car during an internship, Kwant had one final question,
“What do you want to sacrifice?”