The career and internship fair, College Land, is coming to Weber State’s main campus Feb. 1, and despite the fair’s board game theme, the truth is that breaking into a new career is not nearly as easy as drawing a job card in the Game of Life.

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Intern carrying coffee (source: graphicstock.com)

One way to break into the job field is through an internship. According to Barry Flitton, head of Internship Development at the WSU Career Center, 70 percent of interns get hired by the company they interned with.

The question then is, how do students find themselves among that 70 percent at the end of an internship?

First and foremost, Flitton said, students should ensure that their internship aligns with their major.

Additionally, students need to make sure internships are experiential, rather than part-time secretarial jobs.

In order to find good internships that align with their majors, Flitton said that students should speak with professors or the internship coordinators for their major or in their college.

Being successful as an intern extends beyond the internship being compatible with a student’s degree.

Having prior knowledge and a relevant skill set can also be useful, according to Weber State University Public Relations Director Allison Barlow Hess.

Hess suggests that students who want to be selected for internships should be proactive in taking advantage of opportunities that the university offers, and that students should work to acquire a diverse set of skills prior to the internship.

After landing an internship, a critical part of being successful is showing up, according to Hess.

“It’s so impressive when someone is always there and is dependable,” Hess said.

Hess also advises that interns should set aside solid blocks of time to be present at their internships, so they can gain a quality experience.

Equally important is dressing appropriately, Hess said. She suggests getting a feel for the dress code once a student is there, and until they are certain of what dress is expected of them, to err on the side of professionalism.

Beyond that, Flitton and Hess emphasize that another crucial part of being a successful intern is to treat an internship like a job.

“Being a good intern is being a good employee and that’s exactly what an internship is preparing you to be,” Hess said.

According to Flitton, internships provide the unique advantage of allowing students to determine if the company or career they are heading into is a good fit for them.

It is a win-win for both students and companies, Flitton said, as the student can decide in a relatively short amount of time if this is a company they want to work for, and companies have the opportunity to select new employees with experience doing the job they may be potentially hired to do.

With this in mind, the Career and Internship Fair provides an opportunity for students to find relevant opportunities along the Wasatch Front.

“I have benefited tremendously from the work of WSU interns and so has the university. . . It’s interns who represent WSU so beautifully in so many ways,” Hess said.

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