Students share their tips for gaining real-world experience
Students are encouraged to get internships on their resumes. For some majors, an internship is required to graduate.
For many, finding the right internship can be a lot of pressure.
UMKC senior Angela Xiong knows how challenging the internship search can be, and she has a few tips for weary students beginning the application process.
Xiong applied for at least 10 internships, and out of those she landed three interviews.
“It was nerve-racking applying to these internships because you know that you are competing with others for the same opportunity,” Xiong said.
The rejections tested her confidence, but she said it’s important to keep your head up.
“I just had to keep telling myself that the internship was just not meant for me,” said Xiong. “Looking back, I’m glad I am where I am.”
Patience and preparation are crucial components for the internship application process.
“If you are looking for an internship in the summer, start looking at the beginning of the year,” she said. “Trust me, I wish someone told me this.”
Xiong also advises students to reach out to your professors for guidance and to check the UMKC Internship Hub for internship listings.
When it comes time for the interview, arrive prepped and ready for anything.
Bring extra copies of your resume and have your work accessible during your interview, even if you already submitted it to them when you applied.
“I even had one interviewer ask me if I had a copy of the job description once, so come prepared with that,” said Xiong.
She says above all else, practice is key.
“Practice interview questions and have specific examples prepared to show how you problem solve and work in a team,” Xiong said.
UMKC senior Christina Rangel had a similar experience with her internship.
“The best advice I could give is to give it your all and get as much knowledge and information you can about the company,” said Rangel.
Once you’ve landed an internship, get as much experience as you can. Ask questions and work on a variety of different tasks.
Rangel did all of those things, and her hard work paid off.
“I learned so much that at the end of my internship, they offered me a full-time position to work with the company,” Rangel said.
As for Xiong, she landed her dream internship and has plans to pursue a similar career path after she graduates.
She believes her desire to gain as much as knowledge and experience as possible helped her take full advantage of the opportunities at her internship.
“You’ve really got to reach out and say ‘Hey, this is what I’m good at. Let me show you what I can do,’” said Xiong.
Be vocal about the areas you’d like to improve on and become skilled in and ask how you can accomplish that.
According to Xiong and Rangel, landing an internship is just a starting point for success. It’s up to you to make the most out of it.