by Teri Fritsma
Diane Kulseth is a junior marketing major at the University of St. Thomas. She has benefited from several internship experiences, including positions at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the University of St. Thomas Career Center, and Three Deep Marketing in North St. Paul. Diane offers good advice for students weighing the pros and cons of internships.
I began my internship search during my sophomore year of college. I knew internships were important, so I wanted to prepare early. Even if I didn’t get a position that summer, I knew the experience of interviewing with employers would be essential for my future job search endeavors.
I searched for internships through my school’s career center, which has a great program of interviewing on campus, and a job board which hundreds of organizations use. I also attended the Minnesota Private Colleges Job and Internship Fair to get a feel for what a big job fair was like. It was a great experience. I would highly recommend that anyone thinking of an internship attend this year.
My university’s career center was a huge help. There, I found a position with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to work with their job bank, MinnesotaWorks.net. DEED was seeking an intern, and I was seeking an internship. I interviewed with them, and within days was hard at work.
Through my work at MinnesotaWorks, I was introduced to interactive marketing and social media, both of which would help me greatly in the future. I acquainted myself with the idea of networking as well. In fact, because of my networking skills, new doors have opened up for me. I was offered a social media internship with a local interactive marketing agency which I started in January.
I’ve gained valuable skills through my internship experiences—such as learning how to:
- Converse with employers and clients
- Present information to higher-level professionals
- Write proper business e-mails
- Create and implement strategies for effective business operations
- Organize and prepare training materials
- Research and recommend social media strategies
- Narrow down my career goals and identify my skills and interests to convey to others
I would highly recommend that all students try to obtain internships. If you can afford it, I would also suggest trying to get credit for your internship, but if you can’t, the experience itself is certainly enough. It’s hard to find internships that pay. In the end, an unpaid internship that gives you related experience is always worth more than one that pays but does not relate to your career goals. By doing an internship, not only are you boosting your resume, but you are also that much closer to finding what kind of job truly is best for you.
Interested in finding an internship? There are three upcoming events you won’t want to miss:
February 16: MN Private Colleges Job and Internship Fair
February 22: University of Minnesota Job and Internship Fair
All three fairs are being held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Click on each link for more information. —tjf