A Staff Member’s Tips for Internship Preparation

Helping Students Through a Shared Experience

Leslie Buxton, experiential education coordinator

For the past twelve years, I have had the pleasure of advising students who want to participate in the internship program at Johnson & Wales University. I help each of my students prior to the internship, whether it be with their resume, interviewing tips, finding internships, reviewing Handshake and other job boards or giving them guidance when it comes to choosing an internship that best suits their career aspirations.

I myself participated in this program as a JWU junior a number of years ago and truly enjoyed my experience. Things have certainly changed since my days as an intern. I remember going through binders of available internships with my advisor, faxing my resume to numerous organizations and then calling each company to make sure my fax actually went through! Today, technology makes it much easier and there are so many ways to find amazing internships that will add so much value to a students’ resume.

"At JWU, we offer advising and services from day one, so you can start early and research the internship that best fits your career goals"
Each year, nearly 3,000 JWU students participate in internship. Participating in internship not only allows you to gain experience to add to your resume, it also allows you to ‘try on’ a career before you graduate and to network within your industry. If you’re not sure of what you want to do long term, an internship truly gives students insight into a particular industry and allows you to gain valuable skills to be successful today, tomorrow and for years after graduation.

At JWU, we offer advising and services from day one, so you can start early and research the internship that best fits your career goals. Depending on the major, some internships are required, while others are optional. It goes without saying that students with an internship on their resume stand out with employers. In fact, last year 60% of JWU students on internship were offered a job from their internship site. We encourage all students to visit Experiential Education & Career Services to review their GPS and to discuss the best time to participate in an internship.

Internship Success

As a past intern, a graduate of the university, and returning to JWU as a staff member after having worked in industry, I can tell you that my internship experience really shaped what I wanted to do with my career and degree. Walking in to career fairs my senior year, my resume opened doors for me that one year before, wouldn’t have opened. I was able to effectively communicate my skills to potential employers and I felt a sense of confidence that I could take skills, knowledge and theories from courses and apply them to the workplace. Internship for me, confirmed what I did and did not want to do with my career.

Now, as an experiential education coordinator I am able to witness this transformation in my students and cheer my students on as they prepare to succeed in the workplace.

Just ask Joe Esposito who did his internship at Kohl’s in the management development program. He was hired upon graduation by Kohl’s as an Assistant Store Manager immediately moving into an Operations/HR function with them.

Student Joe Esposito

"I learned about Kohl’s through a round table hosted by Experiential Education & Career Services. After learning more about the company and their culture I knew I wanted to intern there. I worked with EE&CS to prepare for the rigorous interview process, was accepted into the program and began my career with Kohl’s. They welcomed me with open arms and set me up for success!"

Planning for Internship

I encourage students to meet with our office as soon as they know what term they would like to participate in internship. Normally, I am meeting students who are registered for internship for the next two terms to ensure that they are on the right track.

3-6 Months Before Your Internship:

Meet with your Experiential Education Coordinator. We will review resources to use for your search, guidelines for the internship, paperwork and answer any questions you may have.

Visit our office to have your resume reviewed. By having your resume reviewed just before you start applying to internships you can be reassured that there are no typos or glaring formatting issues on the resume.

Schedule a mock interview with our office. Remember, interviewing is a skill! Practicing before an interview will settle any nerves you may have.

Attend career fairs. Throughout the year we host several career fairs. Employers that attend can offer part-time and full-time positions as well as internships. Networking along the way makes the application process that much easier.

Start applying and interviewing with companies. Apply to at least 10 internships. This will allow you the ability to choose your internship, rather than your internship choosing you. By applying to multiple internships, you are casting a wide net, in the hopes of having several internship offers.

Mark your calendars to prepare. If you are interested in an internship for this spring or summer term, visit our office soon. We are currently registering students for both terms and spots fill quickly.

For students interested in internship during the 2019-20 year, internship registration is open February 1-28, 2019.

Want more? Visit Experiential Education & Career Services to prepare for internship opportunities.
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