I have had several conversations with students this year on the growing importance of gaining experience in the workplce as well as learning the latest tools, trends, and skills associated with the field.
No, I am not talking about the new movie with Vince Vaughn or Owen Wilson titled “The Internship.” We have seen the term “internship” has also evolved, as well as the growing expectations students are asked to do and how many internships they need to do before they graduate. When I was in school, I was told you would only need to do at least one or even two if you were super ambitious. Now, the number has grown to as many as four to five. WOW!
So, what are some elements you need to know about internships today?
- Know how to present yourself in the interview: Whether it is face-to-face or even a Skype interview, you need to be aware of how to present yourself and how to manage your reputation with your potential boss and maybe even future employer.
- Internships are what employers expect to see from future job candidates: Experience matters for employers, so if you know what you want to do after college, it is best to start early and get involved in internships as soon as possible. Also, definitely note some of the essentials when it comes to internships.
- Understand what “experience” you want to get out of an internship: All internships are not created equally, and you really have to be aware of the culture and environment you are in and what your duties will be. Some interns get coffee, and others get to do actual hands on work and gain new skills in the process. For me, I had this chance when I was in South Africa working for Total Media. I got the chance to chat with the Fashion Director for Prada in Milan on my second day of the internship. Doesn’t get better than that!
- Be aware of the great resources out there: There are many great resources out there for you to check out, and one is InternQueen, which I had the chance to listen to Lauren speak a while ago on campus at UofL. She provides great tips for internships, resources for latest openings, and opportunities to work with her as well.
In summary, professors and scholars who are at universities have to be on the forefront not only for research and teaching opportunities, but have to also keep their eyes open for internship and networking possibilities for their students.
Engaging with professionals in the community in person and virtually is key. Being aware of what are the expectations from the profession for students is also important so we can make sure we are giving our students to experience and expertise in using various tools that will make them marketable.
This is actually one of the things I explored this year with two of my colleagues in PR (Tiffany and Gee) when we explored infographics. We did some research and wrote a paper, which has won the top teaching paper for the PR Division of AEJMC. We will be presenting our research in August. If you are interested in the actual infographic assignment, please contact me and I would be more than happy to send it to you.
Hope you all are having a great day!