Whether an internship is in the plans or in the past, it can be the boost you need to land dream jobs.
“Getting a job in Los Angeles was as easy as ordering a hamburger at McDonald’s because of my internships,” said Lauren Berger, CEO of InternQueen.com, during a presentation at the University of Utah on Tuesday night.
Berger completed 15 internships during her college career, with her first during the spring semester of her freshman year. By the time graduation came, she had already landed her dream job of working at Us Weekly.
How did she land that job?
Berger constantly referenced that although her internships were not her dream job, they were continually giving her relevant experience to help her obtain her dream job. Through these internships, she was also gaining professional contacts, of which she said the magic words are, “stay in touch.”
Three contacts each year with professionals has ensured that Berger stays in touch. She gives this advice to students wherever she presents. When she moved from Florida to L.A., the only contacts she had in L.A. were the professionals she had worked with at her internships.
“I landed a job within two weeks because of my internship contacts,” she said.
Starting out early was something else Berger did, and she encouraged other students to do the same. Contrary to popular belief, she said internships are not only for juniors and seniors.
Adrienne Chamberlain, program coordinator at the BYU internship office, said to not only start looking for internships as soon as possible, but to do as many as you can.
“It is always great to secure those opportunities as soon as you can so you’re not doing searches at the last minute and the internship opportunities have been filled,” Chamberlain said.
While most students will not complete 15 internships during their college careers, one or two can be attainable. According to the BYU internship office, about 1/3 of all majors at BYU require an internship for graduation, and most academics will accept them as elective credit.
There are also 120 internship coordinators on campus, with each program having its own coordinator.
“We suggest students search for an internship just like they would for any other job,” Chamberlain said.
Opportunities can be found by searching online, through department internship coordinators, professors, fellow students, friends and family, or straight to the source — the company itself.
“With each experience you’re going to learn things about yourself and about how a company or organization runs,” Chamberlain said. “It’s going to give you the confidence that you’re in the right major or perhaps you will learn, ‘This isn’t what I thought.'”
Kramer Holle, a senior accounting major at BYU, has his internship lined up for this coming summer at PwC in San Jose, Calif. There, Holle hopes to secure a job where he can work after he is finished with school.
“For most people in the accounting program and the business school, they try to get an internship at a company where they want to work when they’re finished,” he said.
Holle participated in a summer leadership program last summer where he made connections directing him to his upcoming internship. He applied for the internship through an e-recruiting website for the business school.
“Any experience is good experience,” he said.
Holle advised others to use the resources BYU has to offer, including the career center and upperclassmen who possibly have connections and know of opportunities.