Internships: many perks to hands-on skill

By Ryan Kirby
February 28, 2008

Dallas morning news/mct

Forty hours a week in the office, 10-15 hours a week at events and another 10 hours a week driving in rush hour traffic. Sounds like the hectic lifestyle of a rich VP for a big company right? Wrong, it’s an unpaid internship.

Landing the internship of your dreams isn’t as far out of reach as you might think. Just a few weeks ago I had my spring classes scheduled and thought that the internship I had been trying to get didn’t work out. But at the last minute I got a call to come in for an interview and got the position.

Now I am in the human resources department of Comcast-Spectacor, the company that owns the Sixers, Flyers, Wings, Phantoms and the Wachovia Complex, along with many other subsidiary companies.

Working in human resources gives me the opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t for potential intern and job candidates. So after seeing the mistakes candidates make first hand, I have some advice for those of you who might be looking for an internship.

What many students and graduates fail to realize is how important it is to get your foot in the door. You can’t have a salary requirement or “blinders” on when it comes to the position you want. Getting your foot in the door means sacrifice and hard work and yes, in most cases not getting paid.

That doesn’t mean you will never see any extra benefits. I have received tickets to a sold out concert that our department is attending, DVD’s from the Flyers, and the opportunity to meet players, coaches, and other entertainers.

You have to realize that most companies do most of their hiring internally, so if you get the internship realize that you have the inside track to getting hired and have a huge advantage over outside applicants. Not having money for a few months is rough but if you get the job with that company it would be more then worth it.

The Co-op department here at Cabrini is always a great resource to use when finding your internship but sometimes you need to take matters into your own hands and go find the internship yourself.

Go on the Web site for the company that you are interested in and find out what their intern program is like, send emails to their human resources department and get your resume out there as much as possible.

If you are successful and able to get an interview then make sure you put yourself in the best position possible to answer the questions the right way. Know a little bit about the company, be prepared to answer questions like what are your strengths and weaknesses, and show up on time and dress professionally.

Also it is really unnecessary to have a four or five page resume at this point. I mean, working at Chuckee Cheese for a month when you were in ninth grade is great but it doesn’t mean anything to a potential employer. They know you don’t have much experience.

It’s more about being honest and making a positive first impression. You can have the greatest resume in the world but if you aren’t personable and don’t interview well it won’t get you anywhere.

The one trying issue for me has been that I am not a human resources major and have no experience in the field, but that’s why you need to be ready to be flexible. I have a ton of video production background and that’s really the department I hoped to be in.

Nonetheless, after working here for less then a month I have been able to introduce myself to the video production department and now am able to work Flyers and Sixers games.

If you really want your foot in the door you have to be ready to make the appropriate adjustments, even if it means doing something that might be out of your comfort zone.

The internship experience is only what you make of it. Being courteous, personable and professional goes a longer way than most potential interns can imagine.

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Ryan Kirby

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