Internships Key to Job Success

By Lauren Smith
Publicity Director/Lifestyles Editor

Believe it or not, in just about five months, many of us will be crossing the stage to accept a piece of paper that took four years (or more) of hard work to attain. The relief and pride of completing such an accomplishment is cause for celebration; until the excitement is over, and you realize, “what’s next?”

The answer to that question may be a simple one for those of you who have plans for graduate school or if you’re really fortunate, a job waiting. For the rest, the future might as well be a blank page.

What your advisor and your professors have been telling you to do for most of your college career was correct: internships provide the valuable experience that a classroom cannot. Not only do they provide a skill set that can’t be developed through course work, they can put you in the position to make valuable connections, teach you about accountability and responsibility, and can even help you decide what you ultimately want to do after college.

If you’re a senior who hasn’t had an internship, it’s not too late for you yet. The spring semester is still to come, leaving plenty of time to get the real-world experience that might get your foot in the door.

When deciding to take on an internship there are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself first: what type of company do you want to work with, what you hope to accomplish with the internship, and if you’ll have enough time for course work and studying while putting in enough time at the internship. For those who are having difficulty deciding if they can manage a full course load and an internship, you may want to consider doing one during winter or summer break.

Another option would be to consider a virtual internship. The great thing about virtual internships is that you can do the work from anywhere you have access to the web– at anytime. Not only do they allow students to work for companies from a great distance, but they also allow them to experience hands-on skill building tasks, unlike some internships where students are relegated to being nothing more than underpaid(or unpaid) gofers. A recent article from Wall Street Journal writer Jonelle Marte notes that, “More than one-fourth of 150 internships posted on, a site that connects small businesses with part-time workers, are labeled virtual, where the work typically involves researching, sales, marketing and social-media development.” The only snafu students might encounter with a virtual internship is getting it approved by their school. Since virtual internships are relatively new, some universities are hesitant to allow them to be accepted for credit.

If time is not an issue for you, and you are considering an internship, but you’re still not sure where to start, look no further than Career Services. Whether you need help writing a resume or cover letter, working on your interview skills, or trying to decide what you can do with your major, Career Services can steer you in the right direction. One of the best resources you can find for local internship postings is on the Career Services section of Marywood’s website under “On/Off Campus Recruitment”. The recruitment schedule lists opportunities to meet employers who will be on campus, or to submit your resume to be considered for an interview. You’ll also find a description of the job or internship, desired majors, and any deadline information for submitting a resume. And when if you get an interview, Career Services can coach you on everything you would possibly need to know to be prepared including how to dress, and interview etiquette.

While dressing appropriately and proper business etiquette seem like practices that would be common sense to some, many employers as of late have been complaining about the lack of professionalism amongst new graduates. An article from showed that 33 percent of HR professionals felt that professionalism had decreased amongst recent graduates. Some of the characteristics they listed as being desirable in an applicant are “professional appearance, personal interaction skills including courtesy and respect, and the skills to communicate and listen,” which they felt many graduates failed to meet. Other complaints included sense of entitlement and lack of work ethic amongst new hires.

So how can we, as students, combat what can become a potentially negative stereotype? By joining the workforce early, and learning how to conduct ourselves in a professional environment, while developing a strong work ethic and experiencing the dividends that only hard work can provide.