Monday, March 8, 2010

Internships give relevant experience to all majors

Cardinal Staff

Dreading the thought of searching for a job? An internship may be the ticket to ease the pain and calm the nerves when thinking of life beyond Saint Mary’s University.

Students at SMU are participating in internships to set themselves apart from others in preparation for seeking a job after graduation. Internships are an essential part in building an impressive resume. Ania McNamara is on her fourth internship and is merely a junior. Her internship experiences involve marketing positions for the American Cake Decorating Magazine, Window Fashion Vision Magazine and Mall of America’s Underwater Adventures. Throughout this school year, she has been interning for the Alumni and Development Office on campus promoting a student campaign to spread awareness of the office’s activities.

“Be ready to take on any challenge that the employer gives you and give it everything you’ve got,” said McNamara. “You’re sure to succeed.” Due to working in various internships, McNamara has a collection of skills that will give her an advantage when competing for a job.

Mary Gleich, a senior political science and human services major, is finishing up her last semester at SMU with an internship at the Winona City Planning Department. She works directly with the assistant city planner to encourage college students and citizens of Winona to participate in the Census. Winona is unique in that one third of its population is college students, so it is important that Gleich reaches college students so that the city of Winona will receive more funding, supporting the infrastructure of the city.

“Students have got to apply for internships,” said Gleich. “Just try it. Secondly, getting away from SMU before being put in the real world will only help you.” Gleich applied for a summer internship at Princeton, not thinking she had a chance, and was accepted.

Junior Maggie Scannell, a human services major, is currently interning at the Rushford Peterson Elementary School. She works with prevention programs against bullying and violence with students from kindergarten to fifth grade, and high school students
in ninth through 12th grade.

“They are giving me a lot of liberty in what I want to do with this program,” said Scannell. “I’m starting this program from scratch, laying the foundations for something bigger.” Her internship has allowed her to take what she has learned in the classroom and apply it to actual situations.

“The key to success is early preparation and dedication.” Start early. Get as much experience as you can. It will pay off.
-Determine what you want to get from your experience: a full time job, experience, college credit, etc.
-Find something you will enjoy.
-Do your research. Find prospective companies by looking at professional organizations. You have to research upcoming opportunities because they don’t just fall in your lap. Don’t be afraid to contact human resource departments of companies and ask; they are looking for motivated students.
-Develop a resume and cover letter for every job opportunity you are applying for. This gives you the chance to effectively present yourself, background, skills, and they will distinguish you from other job seekers.
-Contact companies early, as much as 3 to 4 months in advance. Call or email and ask for information. Look up internship opportunities online, in newspapers, or look for local companies
-Always follow up with interviews with a thank you card ASAP. Follow up a week later with a call or e-mail and let them know you appreciated the interview and are still interested in the position.

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