Internships give students upper hand

Miriam Arghandiwal

With two years of work experience at The Sacramento Bee doing side jobs, Sam Amick applied for a full-time position. To Amick’s surprise, the newspaper denied him the position.

Amick said although he had been working as a paid employee for two years, the Bee wasn’t able to offer him a full-time position until he had a resume with internship experience.

“One of the big decision-makers was ready to hire me, but he couldn’t,” Amick said. “They were The Sacramento Bee, an established newspaper, and they couldn’t hire anyone without a fully equipped resume.”

In an attempt to help students avoid Amick’s struggles, the Sac State Career Center is holding its first employer internship panel at noon today in the University Union.

The panel’s goal is to encourage students to pursue internships and to help them prepare for the job world.

The Career Center has already verified a few representative employers for the panel, including Apple and the North Western Mutual Financial Network.

Candace McGee, Sac State’s internship manager, said the panel will answer questions for students seeking internships.

She said the panel will give tips on how to be successful in receiving and taking advantage of an internship from an employers’ point of view.

Amick said, because he did not land an internship early on before working at the Bee, he had a difficult time applying for internships.

After much searching he finally got one with a newspaper called The Stockton Record.

Amick said at this internship he was paid $8.50 an hour, which was barely enough money to cover the gas costs for his commute from Sacramento to Stockton.

“It was a sacrifice from a financial standpoint, but the experience was worth it,” Amick said.

It was worth it, he said, because he got the opportunity to work among people who had the jobs he wanted while covering a San Francisco 49ers training camp in Stockton.

He felt that the experience gave him a good vision of his future job.

“I was working everyday, side by side with people from ESPN and it showed me that this was what I was going to do, day in and day out. It was challenging but it was fun,” Amick said.

The more experience one has, the better off that person will be, he said.

“Even with the experience of one internship under my belt, I felt uneasy returning to The Sacramento Bee,” Amick said. “I felt vulnerable in the eyes of my employers because I feared more experienced collogues.”

McGee said she feels whether a student’s experience with the internship is good or bad, it is beneficial to them.

“Internships are important for all fields of study. They allow students to gain an insight about the career they’re going into,” McGee said.

McGee has been responsible for holding a similar event in past semesters – like the student internship panel.

This panel took place last semester, she said, when Sac State students heard from peers who had already experienced internships.

From the successful results of these previous panels, McGee said she feels the employer panel will be an effective way for students to gain insight on what employers are looking for and how to conduct themselves while seeking an internship.

“Some students may learn that the career they’re studying for is not for them, others can utilize the program to gain great experience and network,” she said.

Nathaniel Miller, The Sacramento Bee’s online content developer and Sac State graduate, said he also feels that internships are beneficial to students.

“The benefits from any internship can be boiled down to three categories: tangible work, developing contacts and getting something to put on your resume,” Miller said. “So students should look for internships early and don’t be afraid to initiate first contact.”

Internships leave students with the benefit of having an upper hand in the job industry, McGee said.

“From an employer’s point of view, if they have two candidates with degrees applying for a job, they will choose the one with more experience,” McGee said.

It helps students brush up on their interviewing skills for internships, which can be just as important as an interview for a job, she said, because applying for internships requires intelligence on the students’ part.

McGee said students should be realistic with time management throughout the process because gaining a beneficial internship takes time.

“They should stay consistent and constantly apply &- also, follow up on all their applications,” she said.

McGee said students should treat internships like a job.

Miller shared the same sentiments as he advised students to sharpen up on their work.

“Be motivated, have flexible hours and be professional,” Miller said.

Sac State students can get help with internships by visiting the Career Center for more advice and checking in on their department of study’s office for more opportunities specific to their major.

McGee advises students to utilize all the opportunities given to them and to never be afraid of asking for help in doing so.

“Everybody within two feet of you should know you’re looking for a job,” McGee said.

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