Navigating career preperation
Saturday, June 27, 2009
According to Bobbi Murphy ’78, assistant director for employer relations and internship development at St. Cloud State, the relationship between well-educated interns and employers looking for a talented, motivated workforce is often mutually beneficial.
“Employers may not be hiring, but instead looking to hire interns as an alternative,” Murphy said, “and that’s good news.”
Those employers who are hiring are seeking out graduates with internship experience, according to a February 2009 survey of 35,000 students by the National Association of College Educators. Of those who had landed jobs, 73 percent had completed an internship at some point in their college careers.
Malisa Yang, a 21-year-old aviation management senior from Blaine, spent spring semester as an aviation intern for Northwest Airlines in Eagan.
Yang said the 30-plus hours she donated to the airline each week fulfilled a lifelong dream of working for the company, while preparing her for her ultimate goal of becoming a pilot.
“I grew up near Northwest and always, always wanted to work with them,” Yang said, “and doing this internship gives me so much knowledge and experience.”
New experiences are abundant for an intern at Northwest.
“My days are never the same,” Yang said of her work, which included anything from ground school, working alongside flight simulator technicians and pilots and validating events for Flight Operational Quality Assurance, a system that analyzes data generated by a flying aircraft, to finding ways of improving safety and efficiency.
“I think [this internship] is preparing me greatly because I’m working with pilots, safety investigators, instructors and fleet reps,” said Yang, “and I’m also going through ground school and indoctrination classes.”
Yet, like any soon-to-graduate college student, Yang is looking to apply her newly acquired skills to a full-time job, a feat she said will be that much easier considering all she’s learned in the field and the industry professionals with whom she’s come into contact.
“Never pass up an internship,” Yang said. “Not only do you gain experience, but you have the opportunity to network. You never know who you’ll meet in the near future.” She now enters the job market with references from several NWA employees.
Barbara Castillo, a 21-year-old travel and tourism sophomore from Santiago, Chile, served as an intern for private airline company Imperial Jets last summer. With no aversion to travel, Castillo packed her bags and headed to the celebrated city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Castillo served there as a travel management intern for the airline.
Castillo said the experiences she gained in Dubai, a tourism hotspot and cultural melting pot, were invaluable both personally and career-wise.
“Ways of working are linked to culture,” Castillo said. “If you work in such a diverse environment, it looks great on a resume.”
Plus, Castillo added, serving an internship abroad has other perks as well. “You get to travel and see the world for free.”
Senior Judy Mosby, senior community psychology major from Crystal, spent spring semester as an intern at the Roosevelt Early Childhood Center in St. Cloud, assisting small children in the classroom.
Mosby put in more than 20 hours per week in the unpaid internship and, though she knows the experience she gained will help her land her dream job as a child life specialist counseling children in hospitals, she also knows just how valuable interns can be to their employers.
“It helps them when they need extra help, in areas where they can’t hire,” Mosby said.
Ryan Corrow-Roller, a 21-year-old travel and tourism senior from Zimmerman, served as an intern at St. Maarten 12 Metre Challenge this spring, a yacht-racing venture in the Caribbean city of Philipsburg.
According to Corrow-Roller, his internship on the island of St. Maarten prepared him to enter the workforce as a well-rounded, experienced graduate.
“This internship stood for everything I appreciate,” Corrow-Roller said, “such as seeing a new part of the world, working outside of my comfort zone, learning new skills, interacting with people and having a good time.” Whether that meant racing five regattas a day, maintenance work, tending to guests or enjoying a day on the water, for someone whose career aspirations include seeing as much of the world as he can, this internship was a perfect match.”
“These opportunities exist and are out there for the taking,” Corrow-Roller said. “So look hard and work even harder than you look, and without a doubt these opportunities will bring you to the odd ends of the earth and places that you had never imagined.”