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Summer internships: the struggle to find them and the resources that help

The effort of attaining an internship are starting to affect Ryan Lovett, a sophomore Michigan State University student, and other students at the university due to companies new work strategies.

Lovett said he is majoring in marketing with a specialization in sales and entrepreneurship and although he has a lot of past experience, such as working as a project manager twice for the marketing mix club at MSU and being invited to the MSU Honors College, there are still obstacles in finding an internship.

“I found plenty of struggles in trying to find an internship. A lot of businesses don’t take sophomores as interns,” said Lovett. “I applied to probably over 100 jobs online using Internships.com and even MSU’s MySpartanCareer.com.”

MySpartanCareer

 

“More than 50 percent of students have an internship experience during their undergraduate time at MSU,” according to regular student surveys and information shared by seniors and recent graduates, said experiential learning and on-campus internship coordinator Bill Morgan in an email interview.

Lovett said times have changed with businesses and now even internships are getting harder to acquire every year because businesses want interns who have previous work and do not want to take a risk with someone with no experience.
“Employers lean toward upper grade level intern candidates because these students are more likely to have relevant work experience,” Morgan said. “A growing number of employers are expressing an interest in lower grade level intern candidates because there can be a lot of competition for upper grade level intern candidates and employers are trying to engage students earlier.”

Lovett said he was one of the lucky ones and was able to attain an internship for this upcoming summer, praising his persistence in applying online in the reason for how he got the marketing internship at Abbott Nutrition located in Lake Forest, ILL.

“I applied for so many internships, but it was out of the blue that they called me and told me that they were interested in me to set up an interview for their marketing internship,” said Lovett. “I then had a phone interview and had to wait a couple of days or even a week to hear back.”

According to Abbot Nutrition Career Website, “We look for talented candidates from the world’s leading universities who have demonstrated academic excellence, strong leadership and communication skills and technical excellence in their respective fields.”

Abbott Nutrition does have requirements for potential interns who are looking to apply, one of which is for students to must have finished at least one year of college and must be enrolled in school the fall season following the potential internship, according to Abbot Nutrition Career Website.

MSU’s Morgan said there should not be that much of a struggle of finding an internship with the available resources given to students online and in person.

“The career services network Website has a ton of resources for students career-related. The experts on campus are the ones who put it together. There will be all kinds of information and a ton of things are just right there online that you can get at any time day or night,” Morgan said.

One of the resources given to students online is MySpartanCareer.com designed to help students search and apply for on-and off-campus jobs and internships, create a profile for themselves and upload their resume for employers to see in hopes to find the job or internship fitting their criteria, according to MySpartanCareer.com’s Website.

Sophomore MSU accounting student Mathew Manning found there is another way to attain an internship other than using resources given by MSU.

“I attained my internship at an accounting firm by connections through people that my parents know,” Manning said.

Manning said even though he had connections for the internship, he still went through the same process as every other student before he went to his parents for help.

“It was difficult to find an internship after searching not just hours but days online. There were a lot of internships that weren’t available for sophomores, or as I like to call them newbies in the workforce,” Manning said.

Manning said he never used any of the resources at MSU to help in his search of an internship, rather used other online resources like Monster.com.

Morgan said he noticed the increase of use through other online sources and is why he has made MySpartanCareer.com not limited to jobs on MSU’s campus, but includes local and national jobs as well. He said even though students know of the resources given to help with possible job or internship opportunities, they do not use them to their full potential.

“Not very many students come to us. A small little group of maybe about 10 to 15 percent even know to come to us for help so they are out looking in other places,” Morgan said. “If we can continue on finding ways to generate awareness about these resources and get students kind of interested in using the good stuff and following the relatively simple instructions that help them keep on moving forward, it works,” Morgan said.

But Morgan said it is ultimately up to the students to find their own internship. Advisors can share tips on how to get there, but realistically they can do it on their own.

“It is the really important experiences that students need to have early and often because it is going to help them develop and go forward in a lot of ways they can’t even imagine,” Morgan said.

Morgan said since the work world is changing constantly, time is not set aside for hiring and training anymore.

“Businesses do not take their time with resumes anymore. They go through the applications as fast as they possibly can. They hope to hire as quickly as they can,” said Morgan. “They won’t do the important extra touches like notify everyone a thank you for their application, assume they have your application but are never going to hear from them.”

These experiences and feedback Morgan said he receives from students and colleagues allow him to help students with tips for their future and even help with their resumes.

“The best strategy is, and this is hard, that you just keep looking for work until you accept a job. Reality is that you are not going to get that flood of calls. You probably won’t hear from any of them for 2 months,” Morgan said. “And then out of the blue someone will call you and hopefully you already have work. But that’s just kind of the real world.”

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