Internships take students from the classroom to the workplace

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As a sponsor of the Summer Olympics, Coca-Cola brought in a number of Olympians that Jared Colton was able to meet as part of his summer internship. (Photo courtesy of Jared Colton.)
As a sponsor of the Summer Olympics, Coca-Cola brought in a number of Olympians that Jared Colton was able to meet as part of his summer internship. (Photo courtesy of Jared Colton.)

Fall is the time for students to start thinking about future internship opportunities. Many competitive summer internships have deadlines in late fall, and if students are proactive, they can land their dream summer internship.

“Internships give you practical use and application of your knowledge treasure chest,” said Bill Brady, director of the Accounting Career Services Department.

Internships afford students the opportunity to have on-the-job experience while still in school, easing the transition from the classroom to the workplace and allowing students to “shop around” at possible companies.

“Employers look at internships as employment processes,” Brady said. “They want to be able to offer someone a full-time job after the end of an internship.”

Students can look at their department’s internship program to start preparing for an internship. Most departments have an internship coordinator to guide students through the process. BYU’s eRecruiting system allows students to browse job postings online. There is also an internship board in the Wilkinson Center near the Career Services office.

While not all students are preparing for an internship in the immediate future, all can prepare for a career after graduation. Building a resumé, constructing an online presence and networking prepare students for landing a job after graduation.

“This is the greatest networking generation,” Brady said, encouraging students to utilize their social networks to their advantage.

Chelsey Saatkamp, a BYU graduate, did an internship that not only gave her experience, but landed her a full-time job. Saatkamp completed an internship last summer at Edelman Public Relations in Los Angeles and this summer at Goodman Media in New York City, where she was eventually hired.

“The main thing when trying to get an internship is being persistent because everyone is really busy,” Saatkamp said. “I didn’t hear back for two months … so staying on their radar is very important.”

Students often gain valuable experience while interning, and often gain real-world insights not always present in the classroom.

“The best thing I learned is how you apply what you learn in the classroom to professional life,” Saatkamp said.

Getting out of the classroom and into the workplace allows students experiences that help them decide their future path.

“It also helps you see if you like the work,” Saatkamp said. “If I didn’t like the work, I probably wouldn’t have pursued a job here.”

Most students find networking invaluable in any internship or career search. Talking to friends, family and colleagues allows students to get their names out there and let people know what they have to offer.

Jared Colton, an accounting graduate student, anticipates graduating this April. Last summer, Colton had the opportunity to work at Coca-Cola. While Coca-Cola doesn’t traditionally hire from BYU, Colton’s networking connections helped him land the job.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to people and establish a network,” Colton said. “They are more than willing to help you if you reach out.”

Standing out in a competitive job market can be difficult, but employers want their employees to do just that.

“Be genuine,” Colton said. “Don’t just jump through the hoops. Coca-Cola wanted someone who had a personality, who wasn’t just a cookie cutter.”

Students can begin their job search no matter where they are in their college career by looking at companies they are interested in working for and seeing what the company provides and how they can prepare for those jobs.

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