Network now: Chancing it in the real world

by Beacon Staff • February 18, 2009

One of the greatest advantages of going to school in Boston is the internship opportunities found in the city. Career Services has coordinated the upcoming Internship Fair, hosting more than 50 organizations from the Boston community with hundreds of available internships that fall into a variety of categories.

The Internship Fair, which is held once every semester, will take place on Feb. 25 from 1-4 p.m. at the Courtyard Boston Tremont Hotel just a few blocks from Emerson. Although the event caters specifically to juniors and seniors, all students are encouraged to scout out the internship fair's numerous participating organizations, which include Boston Globe Media, WCVB-TV (Channel 5), Ethos, and the Perseus Books Group.

Career Services is offering several resources to help Emerson students prepare for the fair. The center offers walk-in resume check-ups for all students every Monday through Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m.

The office will also be open on Friday the week before the fair. Anyone can come in to have his or her resume reviewed by a professional, which is encouraged by the Career Services employees as a good first step in the internship application process. And for those wanting to make a great first impression, Carol Spector, the director of Career Services, recommends attending one of the pre-Internship Fair workshops on the following days: Feb. 19, from 3-4 p.m.; Feb. 20, from 1-2 p.m.; Feb. 23, from 1-2 p.m. and Feb. 24 from 12 -1 p.m.

The workshops will be taught by Career Services professionals and will highlight the do's and don't's of the internship and interview process, and promises to leave attending students well prepared.

Spector said the most important preparatory step is research. By looking at Career Services' Web site, students can find a complete list of participating organizations and corresponding web links to companies that best suit their interests.

Knowing about the companies they will approach gives students the advantage of preparation and the opportunity to choose which ones they are most interested in. This is an important step that should not be forgotten and will be appreciated once the fair comes around, Spector said.

Spector has some tips for students hoping to attned on Feb. 25, when the actual fair and the ensuing interviews will occur.

"Treat the fair like it is an interview," she said. She also recommended students dress business-casual for the event. By doing research the students should know which organizations they would like to explore. Spector said it helps to express this interest when speaking to potential employers, this is the same with interviews.

"The worst thing you can do in an interview is look like you don't want to be there," Spector said. "Show interest and enthusiasm. Otherwise you won't connect."

Keeping this in mind throughout the internship process will make things easier. She also said any time is a good time to start looking for internships.

Juniors and seniors in particular are encouraged to intern for credit. Boston has many internship opportunities for students studying communications and the arts, and hands-on experience is one of the best learning methods.

Even if a sophomore won't get credit for an internship, Spector said the experience and knowledge attained throughout will be invaluable and will leave the student better prepared for the next opportunity.

"Even if some students are not that interested in an internship in the near future, it doesn't hurt to look," she said. "They may find something interesting and will see some of the possibilities out there. The fair is an opportunity for all students to become aware of the internship process."

Outside of helping students secure internships, the career center offers regular advice for students with many different career concerns. Alumni and current students alike can search for jobs through the center's Web site and can set up an appointment any time to talk to an advisor about almost any job-related concern.