By Sam Coren
Imagine if your entire internship revolved around helping other students find internships. This week on StudentAdvisor’s Internship Spotlight we head to the west coast and talk to a student who’s happily climbing the ranks at InternMatch, a website that simplifies the process of connecting prospective interns with organizations. InternMatch also maintains an incredibly useful blog for current interns and interns-to-be.
Check out Nathan’s Internship Spotlight profile to learn more:
Major and Class Year:
Finance, Class of 2012
What does your company do?
InternMatch is a free internship listing resource that helps students find and acquire positions. They are growing very rapidly and were recently part of the 500 startups accelerator in Mountain View, CA.
What’s your position there?
Former Campus Student Ambassador, Current Campus Outreach Coordinator
Can you tell us about a typical day on the job?
As a student ambassador I was given a great deal of flexibility in how I wanted to market InternMatch at the University of Washington. On a typical day, I would speak in front of 3-4 lecture sessions, teaching students about the resource and encourage them to join InternMatch’s student mailing list. Other times I would be marketing for an event we were hosting on campus. This involved a combination of guerrilla marketing and departmental/club meetings to make sure our event would reach the largest audience possible.
What have you learned so far during your internship?
Having to continually speak in front of 200 students was a new experience for me. My public speaking skills (you know the ones high school teachers ALWAYS talk about) improved 10 fold during this process. I also learned the ins and outs of campus event planning. During my time as a campus evangelist, I was challenged to plan, market and execute a few different events on campus. Some may say this isn’t applicable in many professional settings, but it creates intangible skills though experience with thorough planning and organized marketing.
What are your career goals and how will this internship help you achieve them?
In terms of the future, I have convinced myself that I will not stop working until I have spent time working for Aston Martin. I’m not exactly sure where my current position will lead me, but I do know why it will help. My work involved meeting with nearly all of the department chairs at my university. Speaking with them about myself and our company taught me how to communicate professionally, yet comfortably. This may sound funny to some people, but until you’re dropped into formal meetings where you’re representing a company, you just won’t understand. There is inherent pressure in these situations, which detracts from some peoples ability to market themselves or their product.
What are the three biggest mistakes any intern could make?
I’ve had the unique opportunity to work both with my employer and away from them on my own. It would be a mistake to not consider the following during your internship:
1. Be involved: If you have the opportunity to tag along with your boss or join a project, you HAVE to do it. Its impossible to know which networking event or successful group project will propel you to the next level
2. Follow the star: Connect with a person in the organization you think will excel. Try and work with them in whatever capacity you can, because when they are promoted, your going with them. Join their company project, ask them to mentor you, anything you can do to be associated with the ‘star.’
3. So now what? These days internships act as a long term interview and it is easy to lose sight of your career intentions. Through planning and diligent networking, you can make sure you have a full time position when your internship ends.
What advice do you have for someone trying to get an internship position similar to yours?
I would highly recommend a student to take on the quarterly (or semester) challenge of being a campus ambassador, it’s a fun process. InternMatch lists their personal intern opportunities on their website, so check for a position at your campus weeks before each coming term. To land the position you have to prove you are a creative marketer and outgoing communicator, in addition to being well connected within clubs and/or departments on campus.
Calling all interns! Are you spending your summer interning somewhere awesome? We’d love to hear about it! If you’d like to be interviewed for Internship Spotlight, send us a note with your name and where you’re interning to firstname.lastname@example.org.