Painstakingly piecing together rÃ©sumÃ©s, cover letters and answers to potential interview questions isnâ€™t new to CSU senior Robert Huerta.
â€œI have a degree in natural resource, recreation and tourism, and an internship is actually a requirement for my degree,â€ he said. â€œConsidering my field is solely based on experience, experience and more experience, the Warner College of Natural Resources makes sure that as graduates, weâ€™re going to be prepared with some previous experience so that we donâ€™t walk out into the real world and be like, â€˜Oh God, what do we do?â€™â€
And heâ€™s not alone. Approximately 2 million Americans become interns every year, with the majority of applications going out in January and Feburary in the hopes of landing summer positions.
An increasing number of applicants, said Ross Perlin in his book â€œIntern Nation,â€ are college students. Seventeen percent of undergraduates interned during their college years in 1992. In 2008, that number skyrocketed to 50 percent.
Experts say itâ€™s a sign of the increasing importance of having real-world experience before graduation.
â€œWeâ€™ve all heard the saying, â€˜Itâ€™s not what you know, itâ€™s who you know.â€™ Well, I see this as â€˜network is net worth,â€™â€ said Ryan Kahn, a professional career coach at Dream Careers, Inc, and the star of MTVâ€™s â€œHiredâ€ in an email to the Collegian. â€œThe more relationships you have, the better chance you have down the road of getting referrals â€¦ Today, internships are the fastest way to grow your personal network and get your foot in the door!â€
So how does someone get an internship, anyway?
Professionals recommend making sure a personâ€™s application stands out from the other 100 that are flooding the desired workplaceâ€™s desks.
â€œIâ€™m not talking about a rÃ©sumÃ© on florescent pink paper,â€ Kahn said.
Having an interesting story to tell during an interview â€“â€“ like what you learned during your time studying abroad â€“â€“ helps individualsâ€™ names pop out in the minds of internship coordinators.
Wendy Rose, a counselor at CSUâ€™s Career Center, advises ambitious internship applicants to set up informational interviews with an employee from the workplace they hope to win a spot in.
â€œIf they want to identify somebody that they could just take to coffee and just ask about, â€˜what do you guys do here? Can you tell me a little bit more about your organization?â€™â€¦ People get a sense of, this personâ€™s dedicated, theyâ€™re really interested in us â€“ not just any internship,â€ she said.
But before an application is even sent out, Kahn and Rose also suggest cleaning up any questionable content that can be found on personal Facebook and Twitter accounts.
â€œSome people actually have people pull up their Facebook account in their office,â€ Rose said.
Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want additional internship advice?
Visit CSUâ€™s Career Center. Itâ€™s free, and counselors have drop-in hours for busy students who want a quick informative session in between classes.
Visit career.colostate.edu/careerram.aspx for an expansive list of internship programs to which you can apply.