The Importance of Internships: How to Get a Jump-Start on Your Confidence and Your Career

Posted by on Jun 8, 2017 in General, Lessons | 0 comments

At the start of senior year, most college students begin contemplating what the ‘real world’ will look like. They prepare for that ever-so daunting job search and stress over securing their first post-graduation position.  

As college seniors everywhere are graduating, there are a few helpful tips for freshmen, sophomores and juniors on how to get a jump start on your career and bypass most of the senior stress.

The first, and arguably most important tip, is securing not only one but two or three internships during college.

When I was in my junior year at DePaul University, I had the chance to sit down with adjunct professor and Edelman Chicago’s Vice President of Corporate Technology, Joseph Tateoka, after meeting him at my first DePaul PRSSA meeting. He offered me important resume advice and provided me great insight into how to secure my first internship.

The summer after my meeting with Joseph I secured my first internship where I have been for over a year. I have received two different promotions during my time there and am now the coordinator of the agency’s 12 other interns. I am also an intern with The Ballast Group which has led me to being the author of this very post you are reading now.

Recently, I had the chance to reconnect with Joseph, along with Edelman’s Internship Coordinator, Jordan Parisi, to talk about Edelman Chicago’s partnership with DePaul and the importance of completing internships.

There are many reasons from an agency perspective for why students should hold internships. Here are the top three recommended by Edelman’s team:

  1. Stand out to employers: “Internships are the most important quality for candidates to have on their resumes,” says Jordan.
  2. Get down to business: “At Edelman, and other agencies, we want to hire interns who have already been tried and tested through previous internship experience so that they can hit the ground running,” notes Joseph.
  3. Secure that competitive edge: “Having real life experience gives you more of an advantage with the approximate 1,000 resumes Edelman Chicago receives each summer…” according to Jordan.

Why did I have two internships, with one lasting over a year, while studying PR at DePaul? Internships provide students with an instant network, a chance to discover a field they love, and professional experiences that grow their confidence and put them in a position to stand out against competition for their “dream job.”

My story, though perhaps lucky in that I found what I wanted to do quickly, is not unusual. As Joseph said, “Internships give students real-life experience while also providing an opportunity to try out different career paths … [they] provide an opportunity to network with professionals and build relationships with mentors …”

My advice for freshmen, sophomores and juniors? Find your school’s Director of Internships and start applying for internships as soon as you can. Work on building your professional network and put yourself in a more secure spot when you graduate. Leave your undergraduate career with confidence in your skills and a targeted idea of what you want to do next.

For more PR tips and to learn strategies for developing and telling your organization’s story to your most important audiences in the channels that matter, contact @KelleeJohnson or @Ballast_ Group or visit

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