What you need to know to land an internship


Rain Hopkins, Staff

It’s the second semester of another school year, and yet another semester in which you pushed back your required internship on your four-year plan.

Maybe the fall semester has exhausted you, maybe you’re feeling a little lazy after winter break or maybe the idea of an internship intimidates you.

Whatever the reason may be, no one on campus is more adept to address your internship fears than those in the Career Development Center.

The staff on the first floor of the University Center helps juniors and seniors land internships every day.

“You would start by uploading a resume to CareerLink,” Senior Office Services Assistant Michelle Clements said. She said the office then reviews the student’s resume and sends it back to them with tips on what to improve to impress possible employers.

She said that internships can vary widely. Some are paid, unpaid, for academic credit or just for experience. You can find all types on CareerLink, but it is weighted unevenly with certain majors.

“Right now we get the most for business. Within business, it would be accounting and marketing,” Clements said.

She also said communications positions have been popular lately, with the emphasis on social media.

“But, I would say that the natural science students and the social science students probably have the most interesting internships,” Clements said.

In the past, she said, a psychology student had an internship going into caves and studying the behavior of bats. And this semester a chemistry major is conducting testing on essential oils to make sure the oils are legitimately natural with no synthetic materials.

Although CareerLink is a simple and effective way to find an internship, often times posting more internships than IU Southeast students can fill, it is not the only way.

Internship Coordinator Danielle Leffler recommends programs such as Indeed.com and “Intern to Earn” as reliable ways to find internships outside of what can be found through IU Southeast.

“Any of the local job wards are probably better,” said Leffler.

Clements said that they also offer mock interviews in which a group of students get trained to understand what possible employers are looking for in a hire.

As far as what employers actually are looking for in a hire, FBI Human Resources Suzanne Jefferson gives four words: character, courage, competence and collaboration. Jefferson said the FBI was invited to a career fair on campus several years ago and have recruited here since.

Jefferson said that the FBI takes on about five to seven interns each summer that hold two particular positions– “student trainee” and “cyber intern”.

“The general internship [student trainees] will work in all areas of the office and are sometimes assigned special projects,” Jefferson said. “These projects may include working directly with special agents by conducting research for an active investigative case. The cyber internship works side-by-side with special agents and professional support staff to locate and identify electronic evidence in active investigative cases.”

Jefferson said that many interns are often hired on as full-time employees once their internships are up.

“By the time our interns complete the program they have a really good idea if the FBI is a right fit for them and we also know if they are a right fit for us,” she said.

She said that in the past four years, the Louisville district FBI has hired over 70 percent of their interns post-internship.

Another company that recruits interns through IU Southeast is Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP, a Kentucky-based regional accounting firm. Recruiting champion Robin Raypole says each time around, the company usually takes on 15 to 20 tax interns and six audit interns. The majority of which get hired on full-time after their internship.

“We look for a student who is balanced with school, extra-curricular activities, etc. Also, someone who has taken the entry-level accounting classes and has interest in working in public accounting,” said Raypole.

Raypole sees internships in general as a positive experience for college students to have. She said it’s a way to test out a field you might have interest in, without jumping in all the way. However an internship is not to be taken lightly.

“Keep in mind that you are entering the professional business world. Start making the connections that you want to make and building your professional persona,” Raypole said.

Human Resources and Marketing senior Alyssa Wilmoth is currently interning at the Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC). Wilmoth serves as an example of a student who does not wish to continue with her company post-internship. But she doesn’t regret the opportunity.

“Even though I don’t want to become a business advisor I’ve been able to meet some awesome people and make connections that will help me down the road. Not only is it experience to put on your resume but it can also become a reference,” Wilmoth said.

Senior Jessica Davidson is an intern with the City of Jeffersonville Safety Department. Even after being in the program for just a week, Davidson says she has a lot lined up for her there.

“I have to record injuries and illnesses to follow OSHA standards,” Davidson said. “I’ve attended a few meetings with the mayor and the director heads of different departments of the city. I’ll also be shadowing the fire marshall of Jeffersonville next week to see what his job consists of.”

Davidson says she chose this particular internship because it directly relates to her major.

“And it covers a lot of different departments, so I’ll have a broad learning experience with it through safety. It’s not just one area on safety,” she said.

Aside from working 20 hours a week at her internship, Davidson is a CNA at Kindred Care and a full-time student.

“It is definitely a lot on my plate, but I try to just focus day by day and not look at how much I have left, that way, it doesn’t stress me out too much,” said Davidson.

Davidson recommends that every student take on an internship in college because hitting the books, she said, is not enough.

“It gives so much experience and it gives a better idea at what you will be doing after graduation. It puts a real-life perspective on things,” she said.