Finding a suitable internship

Internships are common parts of many students’ academic careers. They provide hands-on experiences within a student’s field of study, allowing them to better understand what responsibilities their future may entail.

Communication major senior Anna Kelly enrolled in her first internship in the summer of 2016.

“I worked for the health insurance company Lifetime Care,” Kelly said. “I worked in their public relations department and was able to apply my communication teachings to the work I was doing. It was a very rewarding experience that I feel will help in my future career.” 

There are a wide variety of tools—found both within and outside Geneseo—available to find such internships. Resources such as these all serve to streamline a potentially complicated process.

“I used several different search tools while looking for my first internship,” Kelly said. “I used KnightJobs through the school as well as, and to look for internships. I could enter my city of choice and the field I wanted to work in, so it was an incredibly helpful process and its simplicity made it easy to find an internship suited to my goals.”

While students can find internships outside of Geneseo to explore their fields, they can also enroll in internships on campus alongside their normal coursework. Kelly found such an opportunity in the fall 2016 semester. 

“Last semester, I was an event programming intern for the Department of Student Life,” Kelly said. “In addition to that, I have had dual internships as a Career Mentor and Marketing Specialist for the Department of Career Development throughout my senior year.”

In Kelly’s eyes, each internship builds upon the lessons of the previous one.

“At your first internship, you learn the broad strokes of the professional setting,” Kelly said. “You learn how to present yourself and work with others, and the next internship builds on that, teaching you the more nuanced parts of the job—and having that experience in your pocket helps build you up for your first job post-college.”

Some people feel that internships are a requirement for students nowadays, as they provide on-the-job experience to students before they find themselves in the professional setting post-graduation. But not all students’ degrees are fit for an internship, as Kelly sees it.

“I feel like an internship’s necessity is determined by the student applying for it,” Kelly said. “Sometimes an internship is not a necessity for a degree; more like, it will simply add experience toward a future career that a student may want to pursue. I have met students who were successful both with and without internship experience. It’s mostly what you make of it.”

As students, we reap what we sow, and working hard at an internship can provide valuable experience and preparation for future opportunities and impending professions.

Utilize summer to further advance career opportunities

With the semester’s end less than two months away, if you haven’t already begun planning how to spend the summer months, now’s the time to start. Whether you’ve already thought about it and have a job or internship secured or you’re just beginning the process now, the Office of Career Development is a terrific resource that offers creative ideas and insight.

While jobs and internships are valuable and traditionally esteemed as ideal summer pursuits—especially for upperclassmen—it’s important for students to know that those are not the only options, nor the only activities looked highly upon by future employers and graduate schools.

Director of Career Development Stacey Wiley explained that she wishes to spread as much knowledge as possible about rewarding alternatives open to students during the summer. She added that she strives to inspire students not to limit themselves or feel down if they did not apply for work or internships—or were not hired or accepted.

“A lot of students are aware of the importance of looking for an internship. For example, over the summer, if they can’t find one, a lot of [students] look for a paid job—they’re savvy enough to realize [this] kind of experience is super important,” Wiley said. “I want to comfort students who either haven’t been able to find an internship or haven’t been able to get a job and let them know there are still things they can do that can build a resume and be really valuable.”

Numerous possibilities exist including volunteering, studying abroad, taking online summer courses and many more. “We’re happy to help students think of other things besides internships and jobs through conversations with them about their interests and goals, where they live and what networks they have,” Wiley said.

Choosing to spend your time volunteering—whether in your academic field of interest or not—stands out on your resume. It shows dedication to productivity, helping others and learning.

“Students should pick an organization whose mission they believe in and tell them they’d like to fill a role that will augment their career goals,” Wiley said. “Volunteering can end up being as much of a resume-builder as a paid job or internship.”

It’s also never too late to look into study abroad options. The Study Abroad Office is welcoming to students’ inquiries; some programs may keep their applications open if they have not yet reached their maximum number of students. Studying abroad broadens your worldview and intercultural understanding and many employers and prospective graduate schools know that and value the experience. It also offers personal growth and lasting irreplaceable memories.

“The benefits to studying abroad go far beyond professional development, as students often come back with life-changing experiences,” Wiley said.

Taking online courses is another way to be productive during the summer. Whether you wish to explore an interesting secondary major or you want to get ahead in your graduation requirement credits, considering online courses can expand your knowledge and get you ahead. They’re low-cost and convenient, as there’s no commute. Taking classes at schools local to your hometown is another possibility, but it’s important to first check with the school that the credits will be accepted and to get the transfer permission signed ahead of time.

“Through Open SUNY, students have access to over 5,000 SUNY courses offered this summer alone,” Wiley said. Open SUNY allows students to easily access classes throughout the SUNY system online—it encompasses much flexibility and support as well, which can be further researched at

Another significant way to boost your resume over the summer is by learning a new skill relevant to your field. “By learning a new skill, you’re making yourself more marketable to employers and internship hosts,” Wiley said. She advised that students search for knowledge that’s commonly valued in their fields of study, such as use of certain lab equipment for science majors, Microsoft Office Suite for communication and business majors and programming language for computer science majors.

The Office of Career Development has many ideas and a wealth of knowledge and experience about internship and job opportunities, as well as various alternatives for the summer. They hope students will take advantage of the assistance they offer for successful, productive summers.

“Since it’s only late March, there’s definitely still time for students to end up doing something really worthwhile over the summer and we’re here if they want help figuring out what those things are,” Wiley said.

Career Corner: Never too early to network

The Department of Career Development faculty have recently focused their efforts on raising awareness about the importance of networking as an undergraduate student.

Read More

Career Corner: On graduate school guidance

The Office of Career Development seeks to demystify perceptions of education beyond undergraduate college and provide straight-forward verity to help guide students in making informed decisions for their futures.

Read More

Career Corner: Career counseling benefits students throughout college life

Choosing a major is often one of the most daunting challenges a college student faces. Many students remain undeclared until well into their sophomore year and many upperclassmen second-guess their chosen areas of study, unsure of where it will lead them after graduation.

Read More

Career Corner: Newly launched Encore initiative helps students dress for success

The Department of Career Development offers many vital services to students: resume and cover letter building, interest exploration, job and internship search help and now an additional resource; the department has launched its first-ever Career Closet called Encore.

College students often do not bring many business-appropriate clothes with them to school as they generally have little-to-no need for them and wish to consolidate when packing for the year. In situations where students find themselves in need of professional attire, the purchase of an entire expensive outfit specifically for one occasion seems superfluous. Attempting to remedy this issue, the department implemented Encore this semester.

This exciting adjunct serves as a clothes-loan facility for any student in need of an appropriate outfit for a professional affair such as an interview, networking event or award ceremony. “We want to prepare students not only mentally but also give them an awareness of professional physical appearance to further encourage their success,” career counselor Heather DiFino said. “This concept was brainstormed out of the idea that we want students to feel prepared in every way possible.”

Located in the office of the Department of Career Development, Encore is comprised of both male and female apparel sections, each with clothes ranging from business casual to professional. Some shoes are also available. Students may borrow up to one full outfit for a 14-day time frame. Encore is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 1-3:30 p.m, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and Fridays by appointment. During these office hours, mentors are there to help students choose clothes appropriate for their specific needs.

The clothes Encore has are largely comprised from donations from faculty and staff, collected for this particular venture during this past spring and summer. Encore is still accepting donations this semester, however. Two mannequins––“Kyle and Kelly Knight”––are currently displaying two available outfits in the closet and they will be making regular appearances around campus showcasing Encore clothing.

DiFino reflected on the work and care that contributed to the closet’s creation. “I did a lot of research for about a year looking into what other schools offered to help students with interviews and such, and I found many other schools have career closet type resources in place,” she said.

The introduction of Encore into the Geneseo student community is a terrific addition to the helpful services the Department of Career Development already possesses. Students can now feel comfortable that they can receive preparation assistance for professional junctures regarding their appearance, as well as their outlook and approach.

“We never want students to feel hindered in their success simply because they do not have a suitable outfit,” DiFino said. “Our goal is to limit obstacles and help students feel confident in their ventures.”