Internships are a great way to gain exposure to an industry. As an undergraduate student, you may know what career path you want or you may not. And that’s ok. Internships are essential for gaining exposure to the work force and will clear up any confusion of what you want to accomplish upon graduation.
I spent the summer in New York City, as a Public Relations and Event Intern for Brooks Brothers. To say I learned a lot would be an understatement. I gained a passion for public relations and assured myself PR is the career path I want to continue. I also experienced what type of company I want to work for. Brooks Brothers is a company that puts its employees first (even the interns), and prioritizes working in a fun, open environment.
Going into my senior year with this real world experience under my belt, there are a few things I wish I had known early on.
The first months of junior year were filled with stress and pressure as the thought of a summer internship loomed over my head. I wanted a summer internship, but had no idea how to achieve it, let alone where to look for opportunities. But, when I made an appointment with the ComArtSci Career Center, the pieces came together.
Here are a few things I did, and you can do too, to secure a successful internship.
First Step: Use Michigan State University's Resources
MSU has an abundance of resources for students to use. Take advantage of them. The ComArtSci Career Center assists students with resume building, Handshake and interviewing. Handshake is MSU’s version of LinkedIn. Students can view job postings, and MSU networking events on campus and around the country. The Career Center enhanced my confidence in job searching.
Second Step: Talk to Spartans and MSU Alumni
I reached out to Spartans that had previous internships. I asked about their internship experiences and the steps they took to be successful. The advice gave me a starting point on where and how to find an internship. Alumni may work in your field of interest and are a great resource for gaining professional contacts.
Third Step: Apply to MSU Networking Trips
I was accepted to attend the annual New York City Retail Connect Trip in January 2017. A week was spent with fellow Spartans and MSU career advisors in the city. We toured several different retail companies: including Brooks Brothers, Hugo Boss and Nest Fragrances. The corporate employees and recruiters gave us advice for building a resume and applying to internships that were geared to our major.
Fourth Step: Network
While trying to gain professional contacts, you have to put yourself out there. I was intrigued after the presentation at Brooks Brothers, and introduced myself to the recruiters and their PR manager. I was extremely nervous, but it ultimately led me to my summer internship. When seeking employment, you must put yourself out there. Introduce yourself and try to have a conversation. Take the steps to make yourself memorable.
Fifth Step: Follow Up
I emailed every recruiter I met on the MSU Retail Trip with my resume attached. I received several interviews as a result of the trip.
Internships can be confusing and overwhelming as a student. Do not stress - it will work out in the end. Do your research, take advantage of MSU resources and grow your network. Good luck!
By Brooke Segal