How To Get An Internship

By Lori Maystrovich

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Is an internship required for you to graduate? The process of finding and getting an internship is crucial and at times taken too lightly.  In order to achieve your goals with an internship, here are some steps and tips that can help you.

First decide what field you would like to explore in your internship.  Be sure that your internship experience will fulfill your credit requirement; professors and advisor will be able to help with this. Job seekers often find related experience is necessary to getting the type of employment they are seeking.  Internships can be one way to gain that experience in a field of interest. Kayla Smail, a 2010 Penn State New Kensington graduate, commented, “This will give you a good idea of what the job entails and the type of people you will be working with.”

An internship can give you a good idea of the work that is done in that perspective field and what happens in the day to day work. Former PSNK students who have completed internships have some tips on how to get and manage an internship. 2010 graduate Brandon Cochran recommends students look in a field that they are interested in and it will give them a better grasp of the day to day activities of the job. “You should be able to do this [internship] prior to succeeding at a job,” he stated. Cochran also said his internship allowed him to experience the business world hands on and practice what he had learned in school.

When seeking internships be sure to visit the Career Service Center here at Penn State New Kensington. Career Services has not only lists of internships but also lists of companies that have internships and those that have offered internships in previous years. In addition to speaking to someone in Career Service, you can find listings on the job board and in the red binder in the office.

Jim Shields, Career Services Coordinator at PSNK, is also currently working on a new database that will help students understand various aspects of internships and list the internships that are available.

Campus related activities such as job fairs and informational interviews are another good way to network and find potential internships. A recent internship with Westinghouse was completed by EMET major Stephen Skeers.  Skeers had an interest in Westinghouse as an internship and was introduced to them through the speed interviewing session that was set up by Career Services here at PSNK. Skeers stated he “always considered Westinghouse as a main objective in looking at internships.” The Career Services speed interviewing session gave him the opportunity to connect with Westinghouse. Skeers stated he “would not have known about the interviews without career services.”

Networking is another way to advance the internship search.  Speak with relatives, family. friends and former employers and tell them about your internship search and what you are looking for.  “Talk to people who know about the industry you are interested in to see if they will help you connect to a supervisor,” suggests Cari Hochbein, a 2011 graduate of PSNK.

“Network with as many people as you can, don’t be shy and ask people you do not know if they [the company they work for] are hiring,” recommends 2011 PSNK graduate Greg Savinda.

Joshua George, another 2011 graduate of PSNK who was an IST major, pointed out, “Look around everywhere, not just companies.  You can find unexpected places that have internships such as schools and colleges.”

Another approach is to look at the companies you are interested in specifically.  Company websites will often place internship lists along with employment opportunities.  By doing this, students can target perspective internship providers that are not involved in campus or more formal internship opportunities.

In applying for an internship, it is critical to follow all instructions carefully.   Just like applying for employment, having a part of your application missing is likely to take you out of the running for that position. It can be as simple as adding a cover letter or including writing samples.

An upcoming event internship seekers may benefit from on campus is the Alle-Kiski Job Fair on October 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the PSNK athletic center.  Interested students can visit www.nk.psu.edu/AKJobFair for details.

By following these simple steps, you will find your way to getting the internship you are looking for.

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