Importance of college summer internships??

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texasdiver
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Importance of college summer internships??

Post by texasdiver »

Daughter is a junior in college studying public relations and marketing. She is currently in the middle of the frustrating process of applying to summer internships. Apparently the really cool ones with companies like Nike or Google are ridiculously competitive and she doesn't have a ridiculously competitive resume. Eventually I'm sure we can put something together that may end up being some sort of informal unpaid internship using family connections that might be nothing more than spending her summer in a corporate cube doing office grunt work and following busy people around. Just to fill in a spot on her eventual resume. Or she might have the chance to do some other much more meaningful volunteer work that she actually enjoys but that is unrelated to her eventual career. One possibility is doing photo documentary work on an indian reservation, for example. Another is a church project similar to habitat for humanity.

My whole career has been in government and education which are two fields that don't normally hire lots of summer interns and frankly don't look at summer internship experience as any sort of advantage in the hiring process. So I have no idea about the world of business and things like big PR firms where she eventually wants to work. She is convinced that it is super important because it is what she sees all her fellow classmates doing.

So, how important are summer internships for the career prospects of newly minted PR/Marketing majors who are hoping to eventually land some sort of corporate communications type job? Should she settle for some sort of potentially unpaid and less than ideal internship experience that she can use to polish up her resume? Or should she take on some sort of much more meaningful and rewarding (to her) summer volunteer experience that will be unrelated to her future career?
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Davinci
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by Davinci »

Importance of college summer internships??
texasdiver,

I can only give you my perspective in STEM fields as I am engineering manager and recruit a lot. Yes in STEM they mean a lot and we always look for leadership roles in resumes, you are in the right track about unpaid/paid internships and volunteering activities.

We look for those in resumes because they develop soft skills, leadership, teamwork and demonstrates that they could balance both school with the activities. I get a lot students with high GPAs (4.0) and no activities and they tend not to do well. In the other hand, middle of the pack GPAs (3-3.5) and these type of leadership opportunities do well.

The more related to what she wants to do and if it gets build the skills these firms are looking for the better. It does not have to be Megacorps, yes those are impossible to get, especially when reruiters are looking for previous internships. :oops:

Once there is an internship from something, not necessarily megacorp the easier to get the 2nd, 3rd, etc. I do think resumes with internships and volunteering experience are more marketable but it is not impossible to get full time job without them. Also, some companies will consider them on the initial salary job evaluation and those with internships can come at a higher salary.

Hops this helps,

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livesoft
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by livesoft »

I've had many interns working for me over the years. I wouldn't call any of them "leadership" positions other than they outcompeted some of their peers to get accepted to an internship. For the most part people who worked for me did meaningful work because preliminary results went into a grant or marketing material or led to better experimental designs. One intern wrote a software program used around the world for me. Another maintained the same program. But some other interns learned that doing what I was doing with my life was not what they wanted to do with their life.

All of my mentoring was learned from doing undergraduate research myself and publishing papers of the research. All my interns did hands on stuff and were not administrative assistants nor library researchers nor gofors.

My children worked as college students in their respective fields during the school year which led directly to summer jobs and post-college jobs.

As far as future career prospects go, these internships are important to show what real life in that particular field is like. You can't learn everything in school.
Last edited by livesoft on Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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bryansmile
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by bryansmile »

Not in PR but the volunteer opportunities you described sound cool, are something your daughter enjoys, and could relate to her major - nonprofit organizations also need PR people, right? E.g. Maybe her documentary can focus on the question of how to improve the economy of the American Indian community. These are all good activities that not only look good on her resume, but enrich her experiences, both personal and professional.
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by MarkRoulo »

texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:21 pm Daughter is a junior in college studying public relations and marketing. She is currently in the middle of the frustrating process of applying to summer internships. Apparently the really cool ones with companies like Nike or Google are ridiculously competitive and she doesn't have a ridiculously competitive resume. Eventually I'm sure we can put something together that may end up being some sort of informal unpaid internship using family connections that might be nothing more than spending her summer in a corporate cube doing office grunt work and following busy people around. Just to fill in a spot on her eventual resume. Or she might have the chance to do some other much more meaningful volunteer work that she actually enjoys but that is unrelated to her eventual career. One possibility is doing photo documentary work on an indian reservation, for example. Another is a church project similar to habitat for humanity.

My whole career has been in government and education which are two fields that don't normally hire lots of summer interns and frankly don't look at summer internship experience as any sort of advantage in the hiring process. So I have no idea about the world of business and things like big PR firms where she eventually wants to work. She is convinced that it is super important because it is what she sees all her fellow classmates doing.

So, how important are summer internships for the career prospects of newly minted PR/Marketing majors who are hoping to eventually land some sort of corporate communications type job?
I'm in the STEM world, so I have no clear answer to this question. But ... her college is supposed to have some sort of career guidance center and the folks there should know recruiters from lots of companies.

So, I'd suggest that she wander down to the career center and ask one of the folks there if they could put her in contact with a recruiter or three from the *SORT* of companies where she'd like to work. She should explain why she wants to talk to the recruiters so that the guidance center can pick the right ones. She wants to talk to the recruiters because they should either (a) know this answer, or (b) be able to get her 15 minutes on the phone with whoever at the company does know the answer (hiring manager, HR rep, whoever).

My experience is that these folks are often willing to talk to college students who are trying to figure out how to play the "I want a job game." We remember what it is like and often enjoy being helpful.
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texasdiver
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by texasdiver »

Thanks. It's good to get some other perspective. I've been on lots of hiring committees for government scientists (previous career) and teachers (current career) and not once has any undergraduate summer internship played the slightest role in hiring decisions in those fields. So I don't really know how it works in the business world.

Plan A is for her to find an interesting internship that will help develop the sorts of skills and demonstrate "leadership" and that sort of thing. Hopefully something will come up.

Plan B is some sort of meaninful volunteer work that interests her if nothing worthwhile comes up on the internship front.

Plan C is to live at home or in her college town apartment and earn money waiting tables, cashiering, or whatever.

EDIT: I don't think she's gotten a lot of help from her college career center. Apparently it is mostly corporate brochures and help with resume writing. But I'll suggest she give them another try. She is currently doing lots of Linked-in type stuff with other young corporate PR types she has connected with through sorrority connections or friend of friend stuff. Some of whom have apparently done a half dozen or more internships and still haven't landed that first permanent job. So who knows.
livesoft
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by livesoft »

Waiting tables is a meaningful endeavor. She could learn quite a lot and create new menus, the daily specials cards, the placard out front that many restaurants have, the artwork in the windows, mailable flyers, ad copy, etc.

Also she should know about PR and marketing herself and her personal brand at this point, so as much as a parent would like to help, it is probably time to sink or swim.
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KlangFool
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by KlangFool »

texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:03 pm
Plan C is to live at home or in her college town apartment and earn money waiting tables, cashiering, or whatever.
texasdiver,

This is a great learning experience if she does not have any real job at all. My kids learned a lot from their experience while doing that in high school.

KlangFool
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texasdiver
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by texasdiver »

KlangFool wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:16 pm
texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:03 pm
Plan C is to live at home or in her college town apartment and earn money waiting tables, cashiering, or whatever.
texasdiver,

This is a great learning experience if she does not have any real job at all. My kids learned a lot from their experience while doing that in high school.

KlangFool
She worked through HS and the early college years doing fast food and as a cashier at Publix. So I don't think she is short on entry level service work experience. She is basically 15 months away from graduation and wants to do something more meaningful for her career prospects than go back to entry level service work again. Plus, I'd rather have her off doing something meaningful than underfoot and grumpy all summer because her friends are off doing cool stuff and she is at home working as a cashier or waiting tables. I'm not sure how much meaningful PR or marketing experience a kid can get if she is back working at Publix or waiting tables at some place like Chilis or Olive Garden. My guess is basically zero.

I agree there is a certain level of sink or swim here. She does need to make her own way in the world. But the kids do ask you for advice and I'm just trying to provide the most educated advice that I can give.
Last edited by texasdiver on Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
livesoft
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by livesoft »

Fast food and Publix are not waiting tables. I described many things that I see in small restaurants that I eat in all around the world. So why not buy her a restaurant and set her up in it? :)
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by MotoTrojan »

texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:27 pm
KlangFool wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:16 pm
texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:03 pm
Plan C is to live at home or in her college town apartment and earn money waiting tables, cashiering, or whatever.
texasdiver,

This is a great learning experience if she does not have any real job at all. My kids learned a lot from their experience while doing that in high school.

KlangFool
She worked through HS and the early college years doing fast food and as a cashier at Publix. So I don't think she is short on entry level service work experience. She is basically 15 months away from graduation and wants to do something more meaningful for her career prospects than go back to entry level service work again. Plus, I'd rather have her off doing something meaningful than underfoot and grumpy all summer because her friends are off doing cool stuff and she is at home waiting tables.

I agree there is a certain level of sink or swim here. She does need to make her own way in the world. But the kids do ask you for advice and I'm just trying to provide the most educated advice that I can give.
Also STEM here and internships are EVERYthing, but so are clubs/competitions during the school year, so I would look there too. May help snag a good internship too.
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by KlangFool »

texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:27 pm
KlangFool wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:16 pm
texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:03 pm
Plan C is to live at home or in her college town apartment and earn money waiting tables, cashiering, or whatever.
texasdiver,

This is a great learning experience if she does not have any real job at all. My kids learned a lot from their experience while doing that in high school.

KlangFool
She worked through HS and the early college years doing fast food and as a cashier at Publix. So I don't think she is short on entry level service work experience. She is basically 15 months away from graduation and wants to do something more meaningful for her career prospects than go back to entry level service work again. Plus, I'd rather have her off doing something meaningful than underfoot and grumpy all summer because her friends are off doing cool stuff and she is at home waiting tables.
texasdiver,

A) Ask her seniors that are working now. What are the work experiences that help them to find a job? She needs to start doing this some time. It must as well be now.

B) Ask her professor. Do they need helps to do some research?

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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by Gronnie »

I don't know about other industries, but in tech we use internships as an extended job interview. We pay them very, very well during their time with us and they do essentially the same job as the other engineers. A very high percentage (and pretty much 100% of the really good ones, regardless of whether we are "hiring"), end up with an offer at the end of their internship.
Last edited by Gronnie on Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by jabberwockOG »

Our youngest is in STEM program in senior year, first summer study abroad , last 2 summers interned with Western Electric and then NVIDIA. This summer back to NVIDIA before grad school. For him the internships provided valuable real world work experience that have resulted significant change in direction in field/emphasis of further studies.

Be aware that corporate internships vary in quality enormously. When I worked for mega corp I always felt guilty when we hired interns because their experience with most managers (including me most of the time) was pretty useless. Glacial internal procurement, hiring, and access management bureaucracy slowed the process down so much that by the time most were cleared to have and use the tools required for the interesting work the summer was over.

I suggest interviewing early (like right now for summer) with as many internship opportunities as possible and networking friends and family extensively. And cold call lots of HR departments asking for HR manager or internship hiring manager to see if they are interested in reviewing your resume. More than a few companies even big ones have very rudimentary and ineffective recruiting for internships and are very happy when they get approached by any candidate that is interested.

And if no internship then by all means volunteer work is an excellent plan. For eventual real world hiring interview what is most important is that the candidate can discuss real world learning opportunities besides school, and how they made the best use of their time, learning, achieving, overcoming challenges, contributing, and leading if applicable. Having a sincere, honest, and real world positive story to tell about how they spent all their time is critical to standing out during the interview process.
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by texasdiver »

livesoft wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:31 pm Fast food and Publix are not waiting tables. I described many things that I see in small restaurants that I eat in all around the world. So why not buy her a restaurant and set her up in it? :)
Um, yeah. I'll get right on that just so she has something to do for 8 weeks this summer. :wink:
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by texasdiver »

OK, a little more context here.

The daughter is convinced that summer internships are of upmost importance and how everyone gets ahead in her field. Since last fall she has been applying for everything she can find all over the country but the ones that sound the coolest are also uber competitive and she isn't hearing back all that much from potential employers. Of course it is still January and many of the places she is applying to may not have gotten very far in their hiring process which may be why she hasn't heard back much.

The couple solid offers she has gotten are more in the volunteer experience category that sound cool and rewarding but aren't really in her field. And they are looking for commitments before she has even heard back from most of the corporate internships to which she has applied. My wife's mega heath care corp has an in-house PR department and they do all kinds of social media PR and marketing stuff of the sort that she wants to do. So my wife is pulling strings to see if she can set something up there.

I'm really just looking for the wisdom of the forum to know what kind of feedback and advice to give her. The career path she is on is far outside my own experience.
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by Isabelle77 »

texasdiver,
I do think they're important, both my husband and I got our first jobs through internships, my husband in marketing. But we also both got our internships through alumni from our college. I would start by seeing who works in her desired field from her school's alumni contacts. Even if they work in a different area but the company may be a good fit, I'd try to contact them. I don't think that prestigious internships are necessary, just good work to put on your resume.

Also, we live in the same area and I would hit up the usual suspects but not until March or April. I know that several of them hire social media interns, so I would approach it from that direction. Banfield, Nautilus, Fisher, etc. She could always start with introducing herself now and seeing if there's a program or if they'd be open to her proposing one. Linkedin is a great resource but you probably know people at most places locally anyway. Try the little guys too, Samson Sports, the shooting range that advertises everywhere, the downtown association. She could create her own internship by doing work for a group of small companies with social needs.

Best of luck!
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by KlangFool »

texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:49 pm OK, a little more context here.

The daughter is convinced that summer internships are of upmost importance and how everyone gets ahead in her field. Since last fall she has been applying for everything she can find all over the country but the ones that sound the coolest are also uber competitive and she isn't hearing back all that much from potential employers. Of course it is still January and many of the places she is applying to may not have gotten very far in their hiring process which may be why she hasn't heard back much.
texasdiver,

1) Has she used her social network to scout out and contact those places? People hire people. If she cannot get in via the usual route, she has to be more resourceful.

2) Does she have a LinkedIn profile?

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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by texasdiver »

KlangFool wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:53 pm
texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:49 pm OK, a little more context here.

The daughter is convinced that summer internships are of upmost importance and how everyone gets ahead in her field. Since last fall she has been applying for everything she can find all over the country but the ones that sound the coolest are also uber competitive and she isn't hearing back all that much from potential employers. Of course it is still January and many of the places she is applying to may not have gotten very far in their hiring process which may be why she hasn't heard back much.
texasdiver,

1) Has she used her social network to scout out and contact those places? People hire people. If she cannot get in via the usual route, she has to be more resourceful.

2) Does she have a LinkedIn profile?

KlangFool
Yes and yes.

She is networking like crazy as far as I know. But there is also a certain amount of skill that goes into knowing who to contact and how to sell oneself that probably comes naturally to a lot of us mid-career types that may not be so easy for a 20 year old with no actual work experience. This wasn't so much of a "how does one find an internship?" thread. I think she is mostly doing the right things for that. It was more of a "how important are summer internships really?" sort of thread.
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

I wouldn’t do anything non-paid internships, my oldest child did that for a few terms, in the end the jobs she worked on campus was better lead to her real job. She did call those old supervisors and they were of no help. She had some real meanful internships. So my advice is if it’s meaningful, they will pay you.
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by KlangFool »

texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:04 pm
This wasn't so much of a "how does one find an internship?" thread. I think she is mostly doing the right things for that. It was more of a "how important are summer internships really?" sort of thread.
texasdiver,

<<This wasn't so much of a "how does one find an internship?" thread. >>

It is the same issue that she will find when she tries to look for a job when she graduates. So, whatever problem that she is facing now, she should learn to overcome that.

<< It was more of a "how important are summer internships really?" sort of thread.>>

It is very important.

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Davinci
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by Davinci »

Be aware that corporate internships vary in quality enormously. When I worked for mega corp I always felt guilty when we hired interns because their experience with most managers (including me most of the time) was pretty useless
This is funny LOL, it reminded me of the movie The Intern. :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-DEy3mylCs
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by furnace »

Summer internships? Only if they are paid and interesting. Otherwise a job as a supermarket cashier is just fine.
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

furnace wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:22 pm Summer internships? Only if they are paid and interesting. Otherwise a job as a supermarket cashier is just fine.
Exactly, too many scams with unpaid internships.
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by CaliJim »

texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:21 pm Apparently the really cool ones with companies like Nike or Google are ridiculously competitive and she doesn't have a ridiculously competitive resume.
I think a good internship is a big step up. My kids struggled to find salaried positions after graduating college because of 'no internships' on the resume.... perhaps suggest she aim a little lower...doesn't have to be an apple or a giigle or facebook or twitter or nike or whoever is popular..... there are many many many not quite that cool companies out there that have marketing departments looking for interns. cast a wide net. look into any research labs associated with the school, or departments in the school itself. dept heads love cheap labor! somebody out there needs an inexpensive and energetic gofer. she should think of it as shopping for a a great boss, a gold plated very well connected future reference, not a j o b. my adult IT career had was only tangentially related to do with my undergrad field of study (liberal arts... )
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by smitcat »

In our area near NYC internships for marketing hopefuls are very important. They want to see experiences within marketing companies to get a leg up on eventual hiring.

We also have a daughter that has worked each year since junior in HS in various jobs in escalating skills that pay 2-3X that of most summr jobs. But she is in a STEM area as well and none of that would not have helped her in marketing.
I am hoping that your daughters school can asssit her in pursuing these internship opportunities.
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by aspirit »

Internships?

Going to school summers after HS is less costly than conventional schooling. College has become an 'experience' parents usually dread.
Its usually a lighter workload for participants and takes less time & resembles the real world offerings if ones entering the workforce FT.
Want children to live like children, or is this the time to act like a adult & experience the real world.

Theres always the Army, Navy, AForce, USMC!- Equal rights and all.
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Annabel Lee
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by Annabel Lee »

texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:21 pm Daughter is a junior in college studying public relations and marketing. She is currently in the middle of the frustrating process of applying to summer internships. Apparently the really cool ones with companies like Nike or Google are ridiculously competitive and she doesn't have a ridiculously competitive resume. Eventually I'm sure we can put something together that may end up being some sort of informal unpaid internship using family connections that might be nothing more than spending her summer in a corporate cube doing office grunt work and following busy people around. Just to fill in a spot on her eventual resume. Or she might have the chance to do some other much more meaningful volunteer work that she actually enjoys but that is unrelated to her eventual career. One possibility is doing photo documentary work on an indian reservation, for example. Another is a church project similar to habitat for humanity.

My whole career has been in government and education which are two fields that don't normally hire lots of summer interns and frankly don't look at summer internship experience as any sort of advantage in the hiring process. So I have no idea about the world of business and things like big PR firms where she eventually wants to work. She is convinced that it is super important because it is what she sees all her fellow classmates doing.

So, how important are summer internships for the career prospects of newly minted PR/Marketing majors who are hoping to eventually land some sort of corporate communications type job? Should she settle for some sort of potentially unpaid and less than ideal internship experience that she can use to polish up her resume? Or should she take on some sort of much more meaningful and rewarding (to her) summer volunteer experience that will be unrelated to her future career?

I'm sort of in the profession. Led marketing for a $250 million business inside my friendly local Megacorp for a few years.

Internships are important but not everything. Excellent academic performance plus some of the creative ideas she already has may be intriguing enough to get her a shot the entry-level role she wants.

The Nike/Google/NBA-level marketing internships are quite literally impossible to get. Orders of magnitude more difficult than getting into Ivy-caliber schools which ironically can be a prerequisite for getting this type of internship.

Unlike STEM anyone can make a case that they're qualified (both a near-term and long-term hazard of employment in marketing at almost every single level) so you're literally competing with the world.

Many of these cool and not cool internships at large companies are also filled via both garden-variety and more systemic nepotism.

So your daughter shouldn't feel discouraged if her applications aren't resulting in interviews. The odds are stacked against her.

Here's what I'd recommend:

- Have her develop a pitch of her education, capabilities and aspirations

- Research on LinkedIn and elsewhere to find 10,20 or more top marketing executive recruiters (PM me if you need any suggestions)

- Send them her pitch. It helps if she's geography agnostic...it hurts if she's gotta stay in her hometown, unless that town is NY or Chicago.

Failing this, cobbling together the corporate experience as you mention isn't a bad idea... it will help later on.
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by Annabel Lee »

Also if she cares anything about compensation, track her to marketing vs PR. The supply of recent grads with interest in PR employment far outweighs demand and starting/mid-career salaries show it, until attrition starts to work in the favor of those with the longevity to stick it out for 10, 15 years. And even then....

Quicker upside in marketing if you're good.
Last edited by Annabel Lee on Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by OnTrack2020 »

We have 2 children in college---one at a community college and one at a university (a junior). Neither one will be able to graduate without doing an internship in their respective area of study.
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by FoolMeOnce »

texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:49 pm OK, a little more context here.

The daughter is convinced that summer internships are of upmost importance and how everyone gets ahead in her field. Since last fall she has been applying for everything she can find all over the country but the ones that sound the coolest are also uber competitive and she isn't hearing back all that much from potential employers. Of course it is still January and many of the places she is applying to may not have gotten very far in their hiring process which may be why she hasn't heard back much.

The couple solid offers she has gotten are more in the volunteer experience category that sound cool and rewarding but aren't really in her field. And they are looking for commitments before she has even heard back from most of the corporate internships to which she has applied. My wife's mega heath care corp has an in-house PR department and they do all kinds of social media PR and marketing stuff of the sort that she wants to do. So my wife is pulling strings to see if she can set something up there.

I'm really just looking for the wisdom of the forum to know what kind of feedback and advice to give her. The career path she is on is far outside my own experience.
I'm involved in low-level hiring in an unrelated field, so take this for whatever it is worth. Internships in the field she will be pursuing are helpful, for sure, but if the rewarding volunteer opportunities give her more responsibility and opportunity for self-driven work, creating new projects or programs rather than just doing the menial tasks for some large firm that doesn't rely on her for anything substantive, that can be as good or better. I don't know how marketing hiring departments would view it, but it sounds like that kind of experience would be even more valuable there than in my field. It also makes for a more interesting interview cover letter and interview.
Y.A.Tittle
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by Y.A.Tittle »

Yes, internships are a serious leg up when she wants to find a real job post-graduate. My son’s college placement office was useless, so he had to do his own searching through the major recruiting sites: ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Monster, etc. Companies do post internships there starting about now and will continue to post thru the spring.
Persistence pays. My son finally found one in another city. We paid for his housing but he learned alot, got a job offer from it and it looked good on his resume. Be supportive and encourage her to keep plugging away.
Finally, internships at the cool companies are difficult to land but interning at a less cool company can be equally valuable.
quantAndHold
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by quantAndHold »

Yes, internships are important. If she wants to work for a large PR firm, an internship with a large PR firm is the quickest path to a job with a large PR firm. A lot of internships are basically extended job interviews, so interning at a place where she wants to work is a huge leg up.

If she can’t get a decent internship...

When I was doing college hiring, I quickly discovered that all of the resumes from recent grads look basically identical. They’re just a list of classes the kid took, maybe with a GPA attached. One of the advantages of an internship is that it gives the person reading the resume something that the kid did that’s different from what the other kids did. If she can’t get an honest to god, name brand internship to attach to her resume, she needs to spend time over the next year doing something that will make her stand out to a potential employer. Off the top of my head, I might have her start looking at a small nonprofit she cares about to see if she could talk her way into doing some volunteer PR work for them over the course of the next year.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
Afty
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by Afty »

quantAndHold wrote: Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:24 am Yes, internships are important. If she wants to work for a large PR firm, an internship with a large PR firm is the quickest path to a job with a large PR firm. A lot of internships are basically extended job interviews, so interning at a place where she wants to work is a huge leg up.

If she can’t get a decent internship...

When I was doing college hiring, I quickly discovered that all of the resumes from recent grads look basically identical. They’re just a list of classes the kid took, maybe with a GPA attached. One of the advantages of an internship is that it gives the person reading the resume something that the kid did that’s different from what the other kids did. If she can’t get an honest to god, name brand internship to attach to her resume, she needs to spend time over the next year doing something that will make her stand out to a potential employer. Off the top of my head, I might have her start looking at a small nonprofit she cares about to see if she could talk her way into doing some volunteer PR work for them over the course of the next year.
+1. I’ll also say that, from the perspective of these megacorps, internships are primarily about recruiting and less about getting useful work out of these kids. It gives us a chance to evaluate candidates in a more realistic environment than a single day of interviews, and it also gives us a chance to hire the great ones before other companies. In my experience in software, getting any useful work out of a 3 month internship is pretty much impossible. It typically takes interns 2-3 months to ramp up and become productive, and then the internship ends. Maybe it’s different in marketing though.
mouth
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by mouth »

A strong resume is VERY important https://i.imgur.com/qk7EtYN.gifv
stoptothink
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by stoptothink »

Davinci wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:36 pm
Importance of college summer internships??

I can only give you my perspective in STEM fields as I am engineering manager and recruit a lot. Yes in STEM they mean a lot and we always look for leadership roles in resumes, you are in the right track about unpaid/paid internships and volunteering activities.

We look for those in resumes because they develop soft skills, leadership, teamwork and demonstrates that they could balance both school with the activities. I get a lot students with high GPAs (4.0) and no activities and they tend not to do well. In the other hand, middle of the pack GPAs (3-3.5) and these type of leadership opportunities do well.
As a hiring director in STEM, my experience with employees who had impressive academic credentials but no work experience has been so bad that unless you have some form of work experience (really, anything), you aren't getting an interview. An internship isn't particularly important, but some form on experience in the workforce is. In chats with my colleagues, they share a similar sentiment.
getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by getthatmarshmallow »

An internship is important, especially because at many firms their first round of new hires will be drawn from the pool of interns who did well. But if your daughter isn't a star, an internship at Google or the [Well-Known Perceived Cool Place] to work is likely out of reach with no experience and the wrong set of connections.

But that's OK. She can use the first internship to build a resume that makes her more competitive for [Well-Known Perceived Cool Place] later. My sister is in a great career as an industrial engineer, having worked at Aerospace Megacorp and now MegaBank. She was a solid but not star student (3.4ish GPA, I think.) But her first internship was with some smaller manufacturing outfit, where she did good work, got experience and an offer and was able to position herself well for her master's and then Megacorp.
3feetpete
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by 3feetpete »

An internship is important. Anything she can do to distinguish herself from other students will help. If she can't get an internship with a sexy megacorp she should try for one with a smaller company or non-profit. Or she could get a job with her college that would give her some marketing or communications experience. Perhaps in admissions or sports team marketing.
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WoodSpinner
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by WoodSpinner »

Summer internships played a critical part in my career and it’s part of my recommendation to anyone who asked.

Short story, my first internship was in Chemical Engineering and helped me realize I hated the work. Early on a real understanding of which way you do not want to head was a godsend.

My second internship was in Information Systems and I quickly discovered that I loved this work, I had some aptitude, and relished the challenge. Having a starting direction was also a godsend.

The real value of that internship was in the network of contacts and resume that I quickly built. For the first 25 years of my career, I never had to interview for a job or wonder where the next paycheck would come from.

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go_mets
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by go_mets »

Times have changed.

summer after sophomore year: job at NASA in Cleveland
summer after junior year: job at NCR

I never thought of them as way to get leg up into anything.
They were jobs to make some money for expenses during the school year.
maroon
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by maroon »

Hi OP - this is exactly my background. My last semester in college, I landed a plum paid internship at a prestigious PR agency. I disliked it; much of my time was spent buying party supplies for events. Also, the PR agency had hired a recent graduate - the former editor of the college's yearbook - and paid her basically squat to serve as the firm's receptionist. (I think her title was account executive or something like that, but in reality she was the receptionist.) This made a big impression on me.

Yes, an internship is important, not just for resume-boosting, but to ascertain whether the profession is a good fit. Hope this input helps a little bit.
Mike Scott
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by Mike Scott »

Internships can be critical. Some students learn they don't want to do "that" thing anymore. The best ones end up with job offers or graduate assistantship offers after graduation. For everyone else, it was a summer job.
madmartigan
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by madmartigan »

As a hiring manager in STEM - any work experience is helpful, but I'd most like to see experience related to the role that's being applied for. That shows me you've had some experience in the field, and liked it enough to continue. This is less important for entry level positions, but it certainly puts you in the top of the resume stack for me.

I would also say that going through this process in a person's junior year is wise. If nothing else they have this experience set to better prepare them for finding good opportunities in their senior year. Sounds like your Daughter has already received some offers and has choices; which in my opinion puts her ahead of the curve vs. the majority of college students.
JFKtoSFO
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by JFKtoSFO »

+10000 to everything Annabel Lee said. I would also see if there are any professional organizations that your daughter could join. (Either gender specific or not - AMA, PRSSA, etc.) It sounds like she may need a mentor, and that could be helpful.

I would also not brush off volunteer work as unrelated to her career. Could those photos on the reservation be used to help design brochures, websites, videos etc for non-profits working with the indigenous people on that land? Does the church habitat group need people to write blog posts about the build, or post on social media? Non-profits, especially smaller ones, ALWAYS need marketing people. They are usually understaffed and have no time or budget for these things. Could be a win-win for everyone.
Annabel Lee wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:41 pm
texasdiver wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:21 pm Daughter is a junior in college studying public relations and marketing. She is currently in the middle of the frustrating process of applying to summer internships. Apparently the really cool ones with companies like Nike or Google are ridiculously competitive and she doesn't have a ridiculously competitive resume. Eventually I'm sure we can put something together that may end up being some sort of informal unpaid internship using family connections that might be nothing more than spending her summer in a corporate cube doing office grunt work and following busy people around. Just to fill in a spot on her eventual resume. Or she might have the chance to do some other much more meaningful volunteer work that she actually enjoys but that is unrelated to her eventual career. One possibility is doing photo documentary work on an indian reservation, for example. Another is a church project similar to habitat for humanity.

My whole career has been in government and education which are two fields that don't normally hire lots of summer interns and frankly don't look at summer internship experience as any sort of advantage in the hiring process. So I have no idea about the world of business and things like big PR firms where she eventually wants to work. She is convinced that it is super important because it is what she sees all her fellow classmates doing.

So, how important are summer internships for the career prospects of newly minted PR/Marketing majors who are hoping to eventually land some sort of corporate communications type job? Should she settle for some sort of potentially unpaid and less than ideal internship experience that she can use to polish up her resume? Or should she take on some sort of much more meaningful and rewarding (to her) summer volunteer experience that will be unrelated to her future career?

I'm sort of in the profession. Led marketing for a $250 million business inside my friendly local Megacorp for a few years.

Internships are important but not everything. Excellent academic performance plus some of the creative ideas she already has may be intriguing enough to get her a shot the entry-level role she wants.

The Nike/Google/NBA-level marketing internships are quite literally impossible to get. Orders of magnitude more difficult than getting into Ivy-caliber schools which ironically can be a prerequisite for getting this type of internship.

Unlike STEM anyone can make a case that they're qualified (both a near-term and long-term hazard of employment in marketing at almost every single level) so you're literally competing with the world.

Many of these cool and not cool internships at large companies are also filled via both garden-variety and more systemic nepotism.

So your daughter shouldn't feel discouraged if her applications aren't resulting in interviews. The odds are stacked against her.

Here's what I'd recommend:

- Have her develop a pitch of her education, capabilities and aspirations

- Research on LinkedIn and elsewhere to find 10,20 or more top marketing executive recruiters (PM me if you need any suggestions)

- Send them her pitch. It helps if she's geography agnostic...it hurts if she's gotta stay in her hometown, unless that town is NY or Chicago.

Failing this, cobbling together the corporate experience as you mention isn't a bad idea... it will help later on.
MP173
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Re: Importance of college summer internships??

Post by MP173 »

My recent college grad interned for two summers with an electrical supply company (distributor type company to electricians) and absolutely loved it. He was involved in nearly all phases of the business and it was a very organized program with reading and reporting to be done.

The day after he finished his internship, he was offered a position with the company in a 2 year Management training program which is very similar to an MBA program from his description. He loves it. They are investing considerably in his training and future.

I have been involved in my career (sales) with interns and would find meaningful tasks for them.

It is my belief that an internship is a 3 month job interview.

I would suggest that your daughter approach companies looking for sales interns, as marketing and sales are similar in nature. Companies are always looking for summer help in helping clean up sales database, do market research, etc....right up her alley. Regarding PR...I have no advise.

Ed
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