Southeast Missouri State University student publication

How to land your dream internship, (And why you need one)

Friday, December 9, 2022
Southeast students Martin Woods and Danielle Thiemp talk with Alicia Ticer, Director of Marketing and Student engagement at Chartwells during Southeast's Fall Career Expo at the Show Me Center on Thursday, Oct. 10 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Southeast Arrow File

Jeffery Bullard, senior TV and film major, found an unexpected passion by completeing an internship at the KFVS radio station.

“Whenever I got hired on as an intern, I had never ever really thought about working in the news before. Whenever I was little, I thought it’d be so incredibly cool to stand in front of the camera and tell the weather.”

Now, because of his internship, he’s working his dream job as a television news reporter.

This is an experience all students can have if they plan ahead and actively search for internships. Amy Aldridge, Career Services coordinator of experiential learning, said students should start their internship search in their department.

“Find out what a department requires you to do in an internship to get the credit for it, what the application process looks like, [and] get all the pertinent information from the internship coordinator,” Aldridge said.

After students find this information, Aldridge highly recommends students visit Career Services for help with perfecting their résumé, getting their cover letter ready and beginning the internship search.

Aldridge recommends students look at a company’s website or send them an email to ask about available internships.

“It’s that time in your life where you have to step outside of your comfort zone and start putting yourself out there and start making some direct connections,” Aldridge said.

Aldridge said soft skills, or interpersonal skills, are especially important to learn during an internship, especially in a post-quarantine world.

“That’s where relationships are really built. That’s where your sense of belonging is built. That is where your hands-on experience is going to happen in the day-to-day work of a company or an organization,” Aldridge said. “Make the most of your days, talk to people, learn what they do.”

Myungwoo Lee, director of SEMO’s sports management program, said being able to find internship opportunities is a skill in and of itself.

“Generally, I do not match up specific organizations with students, because this is a great opportunity for them to find out where the opportunities are,” Lee said.

Organizations are much more likely to offer students jobs after the student completes an internship, since the organization knows the student and their work ethic, Lee said.

Especially in the area of sports management, Lee said it’s important to have an eclectic skill set, which comes from having many different hands-on work experiences.

“If a student is in charge of ticket sales, they should know the marketing stuff, they should know the budgeting finance, they should know fan behaviors and technology,” Lee said. “They should understand what is going on in our field.”

Brooke Clubbs, coordinator of the higher administration master’s program, said internships occasionally help students realize they really don’t want to go down a specific career path, but more often, they find their niche or an area they enjoy. It can be valuable to do several internships, to see what works for someone and what doesn’t.

Clubbs advises students to not be afraid to apply for internships they might not be perfectly qualified for, and to be curious, reach out and look for opportunities.

Above all, from Aldridge’s observations while working in Career Services, she encourages students to look into internships earlier rather than later, because unexpected opportunities might arise.

“Do it now. Don’t wait; start early. Even if you think it’s too early, even if you’re just a sophomore, not quite ready to put your foot in yet, start looking, start researching and get ready to apply,” Aldridge said. “And find something interesting to do. It may not be your dream job, but try to find something that lights your fire.”