Tired of the same old summer job working as a lifeguard or a cashier? Want something a little more exciting than doing temp work, filing papers, and answering phones? How about a job with a little more glitz and glamour?
If this sounds good to you, then it’s time to start looking for an internship that will not only provide you with the experience and references that you need, but will also give you great summer stories to tell when you go back to school. Never thought you could intern at Disney World, NBC, or for a professional sports team? You can. All you need to know is where and how to look.
“A couple of years ago I took a tour of the NBC studios in New York and met one of the people who worked there as a page,” said Justin Ward, a communications major at Virginia Tech. “We kept in touch over the years, so when I decided I wanted to try to get an internship at NBC, I contacted him and he helped me get in touch with the right people.”
Ward is one of millions of students who worked as an intern during the summer of 2002. However, while most students were busy doing grunt work, he got the opportunity to intern at the Today show with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer.
“It was a really exciting experience,” he said. “I got to do a little of everything, from running errands and answering phones to going on shoots and producing an Al Roker segment.”
While Ward got to rub elbows with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Celine Dion, he was also busy “learning the ropes” of TV and how to survive in the business.
“I gained some good experience and learned a lot,” he said. “I also made a good impression on the right people while I was there.”
As the job market becomes more and more competitive, employers are seeking out students who have had previous experience in their chosen field of work. This means that students need to gain some sort of professional experience before they graduate, and one of the best ways to do so is through internships.
“Internships not only help students get experience and recommendations,” said Laura Yu Hickerson, a career advisor at Virginia Tech. “They also give students a chance to test out a field to see if they really like it.”
Sure, it might look cool and thrilling on TV to be a lawyer, but it’s not all courtroom drama. Hours and hours of research and preparation must be done before a lawyer can appear before a judge. Wonder why they never show that part on TV? Because it’s not all that exciting.
“My job wasn’t always glamorous,” said Ward. “There was some tedious and boring stuff that I had to do, like sorting mail and answering phones. But overall, the experience was definitely worth it.”
A good place to start looking for your dream internship is online. The Internet is an easy way to get information about various opportunities and to look up specific companies that interest you. Many companies have internship programs and encourage students to apply.
Networking is another method students should use when looking for an internship. Talk to your family and friends and ask them if they know of any opportunities or anyone who might be able to help you.
“Knowing someone who worked at NBC really helped a lot,” said Ward. “I don’t know if I would have gotten the job if my friend hadn’t helped me.”
He also encourages students to be persistent and to set specific goals.
“For three months I would call NBC once a week to ask about the status of my résumé,” said Ward. “One day, they asked if I was ever going to stop calling [them] and I said ‘no,’ so they said, ‘Well, you better come up here for an interview then.'”
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