The Chimes

Internships are the ticket

It is not the name of the university you attended, but your work ethic and internship that will get you a job.

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Internships are the ticket

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President Barry Corey, Freelance Writer

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(This story was originally published in print on Apr. 11, 2019).

The main reason you will become hired after college is not the prestigious name of your college or university, but because of your internships, research and work experience while in college. I have heard this more and more recently as I have talked to graduates and professors across the country.

EMPLOYERS VALUE EXPERIENCE AND INTERNSHIPS

A recent study conducted by Gallup and Purdue University shows how internships are key for future job success. “If graduates had an internship or job in college where they were able to apply what they were learning in the classroom, were actively involved in extracurricular activities and organizations, and worked on projects that took a semester or more to complete, their odds of being engaged at work doubled,” the study concludes.

I have met with recent Biola graduates now working for Disney, Ernst and Young, Amazon, Coke or at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. I have met with alumni heading off to graduate school at Duke, Cal Tech, MIT, Georgetown, Harvard and Oxford. I have met with alumni working at for-profits and nonprofits, living out their dreams. They are doing this in large part because they pursued internships during their years in college. As interns they worked hard, showed up on time, were willing to happily do the menial tasks, were team players, listened well and modeled integrity.

During your years at Biola, secure an internship.

TO OBTAIN INTERNSHIPS, YOU NEED TO BE PROFESSIONAL

Back in the day, a resume and application would be enough to open doors. These days, it takes some hustle to network. Remember that one good “yes” obliterates a bunch of “no’s.” Do not limit yourself to sending resumes and surfing possibilities online—work for voice-to-voice or, better yet, face-to-face conversations.

Sometimes your networks begin with those you know, like your family and friends. A few degrees of separation—someone who knows someone who knows someone—can be profitable only if you spend time asking questions and recalling the connections you have made throughout your life. Other connections can be found in Biola’s alumni office, which can connect you with graduates to learn about their career odyssey since college. Furthermore, professors have also built relationships within their fields of research or disciplines that you may not know about unless you ask. So ask.

But do not wait to find an internship until your senior year. Start early by figuring out your strategy for landing an internship—paid or unpaid—in your freshman or sophomore years. Be hungry in your pursuits, letting those in your college and family network know you are not just waiting around for something to happen. You are moving. And you can do this without being overbearing or unpleasant.

When you get an interview, be professional. Dress a notch above what is expected and be an attentive observer. When our son interviewed for his first job, he showed up in jeans. The manager told him to come back the next day if he really wanted the job. He did, and dressed professionally. Thanks to the manager giving him a second chance, he was hired. Not all bosses are as merciful.

BE PROACTIVE

Be all-in. Doing well in your internship may determine if they will one day offer you a position, or the kind of reference letter your supervisor will write for you. Be excellent, engaged and curious.

Your hard work will stand out and be noticed. Trust me, it goes a long way.

You will do well if you are always thankful and proactive. Learn the job and what the business is trying to accomplish and what it will take to make your area and supervisor succeed. Your purpose in that job is to serve a person and the broader organization.

It will take some time for your attentiveness and work ethic to be noticed, but when it does, it creates a flywheel effect that those in your area will notice and tell others. Good relationships will then develop.

Every time someone responds to you with help by referring you or hiring you, thank them in writing and make sure your gratitude is as personal and specific as can be.

Biola students, I want you to succeed in your God-given calling, so heed these words to put yourselves on the path to professional success.

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Internships are the ticket