Whether discovering your passions or preparing for a job, you might be searching for the perfect internship. You may even wonder if you need one at all. For some majors, internships aren’t required, but for others, they’re mandatory. PLNU alumni told The Point how their internships helped them secure full-time jobs, encouraging all students and majors to participate.
After graduating with a fashion degree in May 2018, PLNU alumna Kate Bristol found an intern opening at Nordstrom via LinkedIn. She applied, interviewed and was tested before acceptance into the program. Three months later, with experience in every department of the store, Bristol is now a full-time Visual Stylist at Nordstrom, organizing visual merchandising and product presentation.
“You have to be trained, you have to know the rules,” Bristol said, “the internship provided that for me, and it worked out they had an opening too.” She encourages students, “Pursue your internship like you’re pursuing your career.”
Last fall, Davis Bourgeois, a 2017 multimedia journalism graduate, had the opportunity to transition her internship into a job. After interning for FOX in 2016, Bourgeois studied in New York City for a semester, delving into other internships. Months later, thanks to networking and her previous FOX internship, Bourgeois was the youngest to be hired into Fox News Channel’s production unit at their Manhattan headquarters.
In an email interview, Bourgeois said, “Straight out of college, many ‘entry level jobs’ require up to three years of prior work experience, which seems crazy for recent grads, but people forget that includes internship experience.”
Her advice to students? “Invest in yourself. Have interview clothes, a running document of typical interview questions in the field of work you’re looking to get into, have resumes printed and with you always.”
Business major and 2018 alum Elijah Johnson, emphasized the help he received at PLNU. One professor helped him land an interview with accounting firm Ernst & Young, resulting in an internship that led to his current job.
“Obviously grades, a good resume, and a good interview help, but what changed the game for me was the help I got from my professors,” Johnson said. “The technical experience in the classroom as well as the soft skills such as multitasking, learning how to be independent, and having opportunities to get involved with clubs on campus all were very helpful.”
When finding internships, the Office of Strengths and Vocations (OSV) offers numerous tools for students. OSV Executive Director Rebecca Smith explained the relationship between career and calling, and how to pursue your future with this connection in mind. Smith said, “We need internships not to be seen as something that’s going to focus you in or tie you down, internships are a way to open you up.”
Smith explained internships as gateways to “understanding the work and skills, and then starting to build your network.”
If you’re looking for internships, jobs or discovering your calling, reach out to your OSV career coach or utilize career services platforms like Handshake and LinkedIn. “Let your internships be your stepping stones,” Smith said, “Go and just be curious.”
More information at www.plnucareercenter.com.