An internship can pay off in the long run

DOWNEY - For many students, summer is a time to relax and take some much needed time off from work and school in order to earn something extremely valuable for their future careers - an internship.While many see summer as a time to forget about anything that involves any level of responsibility, internships are priceless experiences that help you receive on-the-job training that you wouldn't be likely to obtain elsewhere. With unemployment reaching all new highs, students who are graduating and entering the workforce, or even college, need to set themselves apart from their peers - and internships are a perfect way to do so. While internships are high in demand, the process to obtaining one can be fairly simple if the proper research is done, and continuous communication is maintained. "I saw the job posting on my school's career website, applied, and soon got an e-mail to continue with the next step and fill out a profile for Nordstrom," said Warren High School alum and Business-Marketing student Jessica Vidarte. "Then, I had a phone interview the next day, and soon after was contacted by human resources and interviewed with them as well. I actually was one of the last people to apply!" Not only can it be a painless process to begin, but with careful research, you can find companies who not only give student interns real-life tasks and responsibilities, but also pay you for your efforts. With the cost of tuition rising, it's important to utilize your time efficiently, and really budget money accordingly - and if you're getting paid to learn about your prospective field, where's the harm in that? "As an intern, we have meetings to attend, projects to finish and other responsibilities to fulfill," said Vidarte, Sales Intern at Nordstrom Cerritos. "It is a full time position that mostly involves selling on the floor, so we learn about Nordstrom's culture, opening and closing procedures, as well as learning how to be a manager." Not only are they for school credit or resume purposes, but sometimes while even being paid for your efforts, you could be hired on to work for the company. According to, your best bet is to really get to know the company you want to work for, do your best to make a lasting impact, and really make your desire to stay on known. Even while some companies don't often hire interns immediately after, having job offers lined up for when you graduate couldn't hurt. Also, it allows the student to build a lasting network of contacts that can offer positive feedback about them in the future. Vidarte had some simple and encouraging advice for students who are thinking of applying for an internship, and encourages students to just go for it. • Just apply, even if you don't think you're going to get it! You never know what will happen - and really, does it hurt to try? • Utilize your school's career website, they have some great opportunities! • If you don't get the internship you wanted, just keep applying and don't get discouraged. Internships allow students the ability to enter the workforce temporarily and test the waters. They come in many varieties to fit different students' situations, varying from very part-time positions, to full-time paid positions. Some require planning up to a year ahead of time, while others can be obtained within days of hearing about it. Next summer, when you're unsure of how to spend those decisive three months, consider doing something that can benefit you in every aspect. "It is definitely worth my while!" said Vidarte.

********** Published: June 30, 2011 - Volume 11 - Issue 10