How to find an internship

GVL / Emily Frye
Students attending the Nonprofit Internship Fair in Henry Hall on Wednesday September 9th, 2015.

GVL / Emily Frye Students attending the Nonprofit Internship Fair in Henry Hall on Wednesday September 9th, 2015.

Taylor Fussman

Students everywhere turn to internships to gain experience in their desired fields and develop the skills necessary to be successful. Often, it can seem as though this process is easier said than done.

At Grand Valley State University, students are encouraged to take part in an internship to enhance the skills they have to offer in the professional world. With numerous businesses offering internships, the most challenging part of the process is attributed to actually finding the internship that’s right for a particular student.

“Most students find them on their own,” said Rachel Becklin, associate director in the Student Services Center. “Some internships are posted on Laker Jobs, or students can set it up with their department, or they can set up an interview with the company they are looking to work for.”

This independent searching process allows for students to find internships that are the right fit for them and meet people whom they would profit from working with.

“Networking is important,” Becklin said. “Talk with faculty members, professors and classmates to learn about new opportunities.”

Becklin also strongly suggests attending internship fairs held on the GVSU campus, as they are a valuable resource for discovering future internships.

One of these opportunities will come on Oct. 22, when GVSU will host 230 companies looking for both full-time and summer interns.

The university also hosts “Careers At” events in which students will travel to different companies to get a feel for the work environment. One of these events will be held on Oct. 16, when students will visit an Auto Owners Insurance company.

“People hire those that they know and trust, and this comes from working together over time,” said Chris Babbitt, associate director in the Student Services Center. “Attend networking events and be thoughtful about maintaining these relationships over time.”

Once the internship has been decided on, students are able to apply for credit. This is a process that is the student completes online.

“Organizations have different ways of setting up the internship,” Becklin said. “Once it has been secured with the employer, the student can register and apply online.”

While internships can count for different amounts from one to six credits, many students opt to earn three credit hours with their internship. This would equal out to approximately 10 to 15 hours of work a week for the student.

With the internship secured and the credit applied for, the student can simply make the most of their internship.

“Be open,” Babbitt said. “To get the most out of an internship, I think it is great to take on any task or responsibility. Try to say ‘yes’ to as much as possible because you don’t know what you will enjoy until you try it.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the process of finding and applying for an internship can visit the Student Services Center that employs advisers who work in various departments and can be of assistance in connecting students to professionals in their field.