Twenty-one-year-old senior Ana Calderone spent last summer writing stories about the latest fashion trends, assisting with the production of web content, and meeting with leading journalists – all for her internship with The New York Times Fashion & Style section.
Calderone, originally from Long Island, N.Y., spent the past three summers working at internships related to fashion journalism, the career path she hopes to pursue after graduation. Before her summer at The New York Times, Calderone worked for Condé Nast’s Women’s Wear Daily as a styling intern.
Because of her interning experience, Calderone said she believes in the value of internships. She said her time this summer helped shape her professional life.
“I learned so much at my internship and it really solidified my career goals,” Calderone said. “I worked with great people, got a bunch of bylines and learned from some of the industry’s best. Everyone should seek internships, there’s so much more to learn outside the classroom.”
Internships on the rise
Calderone is one of many students at the University of Miami who complete internships during their time in college. According to surveys conducted by the Toppel Career Center at UM, 50 percent of graduating seniors from the May class of 2012 has completed an internship by the time of graduation.
“Employers are saying they would like to see two to three internships on students’ resumes at the time of graduation, to make yourself competitive for the real world,” said Frits Bigham, the assistant director of internships and assessment at Toppel Career Center. “If you want to be able to land a great job after graduation it’s important to start early on with an internship.”
Bigham stated that students who have internship experience on their resumes are also more likely to make more money at their first job.
“National data has suggested that the difference between someone who never had an internship and someone who did have an internship is around $6,000 toward your starting salary,” he said.
For instance, someone with no internship experience would make $35,000, where as someone with internship experience would make $41,000.
“That’s pretty powerful in terms of looking at a reason to complete an internship and being more competitive,” Bigham said.
Internships are important for a variety of reasons, one being the experience that students gain, said Bigham.
“It’s important throughout your college career to put yourself out there in terms of an internship, because of the different things that you’ll learn throughout that internship,” Bigham said. “You’ll learn about what you like in terms of industry, in terms of the environment, but also challenge yourself as a student to see how you can perform in the real world.”
While many students complete internships to help them land their dream jobs, senior Andrew Szarejko spent last summer gaining relevant experiences in a different way.
Szarejko participated in the Critical Language Scholarship Program. He spent two months in Izmir, Turkey, studying Turkish for four hours a day, five days a week. He completed homework assignments in Turkish, and lived with a Turkish family.
Szarejko believes his time spent with the program will be beneficial for him in the future – he hopes to secure a job in government work.
“Foreign language proficiency is always good for just about any job,” Szarejko said. “I really want to go into government work so studying Turkish for two months in an intensive setting was certainly helpful.”
Szarejko also valued the top-notch nature of the program.
“It was also great because you go there, and it’s a competitive program,” Szarejko said. “You’re with elite students in elite universities, and it’s great getting to know those people.”
Though Szarejko did not apply to his critical language program through the Toppel Career Center, many other opportunities for internships, full and part-time jobs are available through the center’s databases, including hireacane.com and ucanintern.com. Hireacane.com is where employers post job opportunities strictly for Canes, and ucanintern.com is the University Career Action Network, where universities post internships for students from other schools.
Erika Glass contributed to this report.