The Real World is Out There

Before the spring semester ended, fourth-year college student Tarisha Newton wanted to snag a summer internship where she could not only gain experience and advance her skillset in the field of Promotional Communications, but also expose herself to the workplace…she just needed to find a flexible, accommodating option out there.

Newton began her search for internships on Handshake. After filling out a few questions regarding her interests and career fields, Newton was given a multitude of companies and organizations to apply to and was even able to filter her options more to cater to her preferences.

“It was always my worry finding an internship that either was flexible or would pay me enough to support myself,” Newton shared with The Cauldron.

In no time, she had a zoom interview for The Incubator and scored the position within three days. Throughout the summer, Newton attended weekly meetings where she was assigned social media accounts to research, while also creating social media posts and weekly media calendars to keep a schedule of content.

“I was familiar so I wasn’t totally not knowing what was going on,” said Newton. “I was prepaid and was like ‘Oh I know about this’ and understood the tasks that I was assigned.”

Newton is one of many students who has had an internship that offers real world experience, making students more of a competitor in their field, expand on their skillset and put their education to the test. 

Cleveland State offers students support through this process of pursuing internships. The Office of Career Development and Exploration has many tools and resources for students to help get their foot into the real world of jobs. These include access to a free headshot photo booth, resume and cover letter editing and walk through, and even mock interviews.

Handshake, an online resource where professionals reach out and post job and internship positions, is another tool from CSU to help students start their job search. Students can sign in using their CSU credentials or personal email information.

Dr. Elizabeth Pask, director of communications studies major and director of internships for the School of Communication, spoke about the importance of internships and the opportunities it can give students. 

“A lot of students don’t know what to expect in real world situations and then students come back and are glad because they got to apply those skills,” said Dr. Pask.

Dr. Pask also shared that it is always good for students to look into the resources that the school provides, expand their social networks, and practice with peers and classmates to become more comfortable with the process.

She also acknowledges that while many students may not always hear back from potential employers after sending out an application, it’s important to remain optimistic and apply broadly when looking for positions. 

“Just because you don’t get a response doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough,” said Dr. Pask.

There are more internships positions out there than students applying, creating more of a demand than ever. However, the process of acquiring an internship can be time-consuming and overwhelming in today’s society, causing students to stop before they even start.

Through her work, Dr. Pask communicates with organizations and companies looking for potential hires. She has learned that they search for something that makes students stand out or appear more attractive to them since everyone applying has a college degree and a similar GPA.

“Having that one experience on your resume may make you more competitive for another experience,” said Dr. Pask. 

With the fall semester rolling in, Newton continues to look and apply for internships and looks back, wishing she could have pursued more internships throughout her college years. She insisted that the experience of an internship is one that students won’t regret. 

“The hands-on experience in the real world is definitely important,” said Newton. “Pay attention to those things [hiring positions] because there could be an opportunity.”

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