Internships offer experience recommended by employeers

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Rebecca Knicely
rlknicely@radford.edu

The job market is extremely competitive and only the most qualified and experienced applicants are being hired.
As college graduates, the main thing comparing you to the next graduate is proving experience within your field of work; internships are your key to success.  Most internships today are just as competitive as finding a full-time job, so maintaining a high GPA and staying involved in your university will help make your resume make its own statement.

After landing an internship, it is important to treat it as professionally as someone would their career.  Organizations look for interns who are motivated, have strong work ethic, and work well independently as well as in a team environment.

Radford University held a career fair for internships in Heth Hall on Feb. 15 in which many organizations shed light on what it takes to receive an internship. They emphasized how most organizations offer jobs to interns that have a “go-getter” attitude as well as show enthusiasm in their agenda daily.  YMCA camp counselors and RU students Brian Griffith and Ali Ruotolo shared their experience about an intern who put enthusiasm into the job he was there to do.  He went above and beyond and hosted a project called Coins for Kids which was a fundraiser for children who need financial assistance.
Alexandra Carter, a junior business management student shared her personal internship with the City of Radford Department of Tourism.  While asking her whether she believed her internship will help her for her future career, she labeled it as a “priceless experience and fantastic networking opportunity.”  She explained her typical tasks interning through the City of Radford as event planning and website maintenance.

While asking organizations for helpful advice for students to be successful in an internship, the answers were pretty consistent.  An internship is about commitment and setting personal goals; most interns take away valuable job experience, but if the intern is not willing to put in time, they won’t take away as much as someone who wants to learn.
Some tips provided by organizations in the area are to meet and greet with everyone; having positive work relationships requires communication skills.

Do research about the company you’re planning on interning for. Coming into an internship with background knowledge of what the organization is about already puts a foot in the door.  Be prepared that interning does not mean starting at the top; interns will be given the smaller tasks such as filing or getting coffee, but always remember the big picture and keep a positive attitude.

Always ask questions! You are a student and the main point of this internship experience is to learn, so ask as many questions as you feel necessary to get the job done right.