Students attain job application, networking tips from internship expert
Lauren Berger learned not to take ‘no’ for an answer early on in college, during which she had 15 internships.
‘All 15 internships were unpaid, but they were priceless,’ Berger said. ‘They were the best experiences of my college career.’
Berger, the self-proclaimed Intern Queen, graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2006 with 15 internships in four years. On Tuesday, Berger visited Syracuse University and gave a lecture titled ‘Everything Internships with the Intern Queen.’ SU students filled Maxwell Auditorium and stood in the aisles to listen to her tips and advice.
Berger said she started as a freshman at Florida State University simply enjoying her college experience. Then her mother forced her out of idleness and told her to land an internship, she said. After interning at The Zimmerman Agency her first semester, Berger never looked back. Fifteen internships later, Berger is now the CEO of Intern Queen Inc.
‘Internships are important and hard to get. I had heard of her before as the Intern Queen and had been on her website,’ said Julianne Glasheen, a junior English and textual studies and communication and rhetorical studies major.
Berger told stories of one internship leading to the next, as well as those about juggling up to three internships at a time. Internships are about the experience and networking, but Berger said she always had a part-time job and never allowed money to be an issue.
Emphasizing the importance of contacts and networking, Berger said almost all of her internships came from clients she had met through a previous internship. She suggested students keep a spreadsheet of every employee they meet during an internship and to keep in touch with them. She reconnects with past intern coordinators and other co-workers once every fall, spring and summer, she said.
When a student is first looking to intern, Berger said the student should sit down and make a list of the top 10 internships.
Berger has created a database with more than 1,000 companies looking to hire fall, winter, spring and summer interns, she said. The list is available for free at InternQueen.com. The website gets 100,000 hits every month, and Berger receives more than 200 e-mails every day from students seeking advice about internships, she said.
Students should apply to at least 10 companies, dress professionally and display confidence to employers, Berger said. One employer told her she would ‘rather have an eager freshman than a senior,’ Berger said.
Berger said to write the potential employer a handwritten, personal thank you note after an interview.
She also discussed social networking and said students should know employers access social networking pages.
Hannah Bibighaus, a freshman communication and rhetorical studies major, said she thinks Berger’s advice is applicable to students in the communications industry.
‘I knew most of the important things already, like networking and thank you notes,’ Bibighaus said. ‘But tonight I took away that I need to really put myself out there and just pursue my dream in any way possible.’
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