May signals the start of new internships

Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson

As the arrival of May signals the end of classes, the season of summer internships begins.

If you are looking for more than just a part-time job that will take you one step closer to your career goal, then a summer internship may be just the thing for you, according to Susan Frederickson, employment development director at the Careers and Academic Planning (CAP) center.

Communication skills, teamwork, computer knowledge and leadership, Frederickson says, is what employers generally look for in a student intern.

“In surveys — it doesn’t matter what industry the employer is in — most often the number one qualification they are looking for is communication skills.”

It varies by department on whether or not students are required to complete an internship. The grade level of the student is also another factor to consider. Most often, businesses are looking for juniors or seniors to intern for their companies.

“Generally, a student will do that experience the summer after their junior year,” Frederickson said. “It may vary some, but a lot of times that is because the employer wants you to have a certain level of study behind you.”

You need not worry if you haven’t reached junior status, yet. There’s plenty of preparation required to attain a summer internship.

“For those who have chosen a major, starting to identify some of those areas that might be related to their field. Even though they can’t do a formal internship at this point, maybe they can get a part-time job or maybe they can volunteer in order to get that experience,” Frederickson said.

It is also recommended to do research or attend a job fair. With so many businesses gathered in one spot, a job fair offers, “really good opportunities to do some networking,” Frederickson said.

Of course, the first step is identifying some of the businesses you would enjoy interning for.

“That’s really where they should be kind of putting their thinking caps on because they may end up doing something the first couple of years that isn’t directly related to their major,” Frederickson said.

Businesses like Daktronics, Disney World, IBM and Land O’ Lakes are just some of the companies that offer internships to SDSU students.

In order to help students determine which company he or she would most enjoy interning for, the CAP center has put together a Web site at

“We have a website, for one thing, where all of the jobs and internships and summer jobs and part-time jobs are listed,” Frederickson said. “Our focus tends to be on the interns and full-time employment.”

The CAP center also teaches students how to approach employers and how to go about interviews.

“We have our on-campus interviewing, of course. That’s for employers who want to do an initial interview,” Frederickson said. “We do a lot of one-on-one work with students.”

Meanwhile, the South Dakota Career Center is more focused on part-time jobs.

Whether it’s a part-time job, a full-time job or just a summer internship you are looking for, there is one key factor in searching for employment.

“Planning ahead is the key so that you don’t wind up looking back a couple of years down the road and thinking, ‘I wish I would have planned,'” Frederickson said.