BYU career advisors share internship best practices

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As the time for spring and summer internship applications rapidly approaches, BYU advisors have plenty of advice to share.

For majors in the school of business, internship recruiting happens very early in the year, Brian Voigt said, who has worked as a career advisor for the BYU accounting major for the last seven years.

“We’re recruiting already for public accounting internships in 2025,” Voigt said.

Career fairs are a great way for students to begin to develop relationships with employers. Upcoming fairs can be seen here. (BYU)

According to him, some of the best ways to learn about internships are through Handshake and tabling events, where students can develop relationships with companies they are interested in.

“So I know academics are the most important, but I always advise students to carve out an hour to an hour and a half a week of intentional focus on some sort of recruiting activity. Whether it is going to an information session, meeting with your career counselor, networking, doing applications or just searching for jobs,” Voigt said.

This intentionality, he said, is essential in assisting students to find their career path.

“It just takes some planning and focus, right, because you don’t want to miss timing on deadlines on your applications, that’s just a no-go,” Voigt said.

Karen Christensen, an internship coordinator for the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, explained big companies tend to target the summer, but there are lots of opportunities during the semester as well.

Although students may need only one experience for credit, Christensen believes they should have three or four on their resume before graduation.

Getting involved and finding ways to serve in the community are great ways to discover interests and improve resumes, Christensen said.

“My big message is to just get involved. We focus so much on classes and shooting for a 4.0 that if you only do classes and have your great GPA, when you graduate you’re pretty narrow in preparation, and you’re going to have a little bit of trouble finding what else is out there,” she said.

Gaining experience outside of campus can be extremely helpful in making the transition from college student to full-time employee more manageable, Christensen said.

Rebecca Daines, a USU masters student who currently works in the BYU Neuroscience Office, shared her internship experience as a third party court-ordered supervisor taught her how to be an effective communicator.

“It’s definitely helped me prepare for my master’s program, because I am going to be working with kids and youth. And so I’ve already learned skills that I can take into and just apply that to what I’m learning on top of it to be a better therapist with kids,” she said.

Daines explained she thinks everybody should do some sort of an internship while in college.

“100%. I think school is awesome. Classes are awesome. But I think the most learning happens when you’re hands-on because you’re able to take what you’re learning in school and apply it, and it will just amplify your learning,” she said.

The Washington Seminar database is located at 945 Kimball Tower. Students are able to live in Washington D.C. at low prices with BYU-subsidized housing. (Andrew Osborn)

One specific opportunity students should be aware of is the Washington Seminar program, Christensen said. This program is available to BYU students who obtain an internship based in Washington D.C.

Because BYU owns a building in Washington D.C., students can live in the city at Provo prices, Christensen said.

“I think a lot of students automatically think ‘Oh, you have to be a political science student if you do that.’ And that’s just not the case, it’s for any major across campus,” she said.

For students interested in applying for the Washington Seminar for the spring-summer internship period, the deadline is Oct. 23.

“It is just such a good opportunity. And financially, there’s enough funding available and stuff to that there’s no reason a student shouldn’t do it just because they think, ‘oh, I can’t afford that.’ There’s funding available if you have financial needs,” Christensen said.

The Family, Home and Social Sciences internship office, located at 945 KIMB, has a database students can use to find internship opportunities compatible with their majors and the Washington Seminar.

For students interested in learning more about internship opportunities for their major, each department has a career center that can provide specific information for them.

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