The first annual Summer/Fall Internship fair was hosted on Wednesday by St. Cloud State’s Career Services Center. There were over 65 employers seeking qualified applicants to fill their summer or fall internships. Most of the employers consisted of regional central-Minnesota companies, but the fair also featured employers from the Minneapolis/St. Paul and Duluth area as well.
This year’s internship fair offered a different set of opportunities compared to previous job fairs, and the change was reflected in the atmosphere of the Atwood Ballroom. Representatives from the selected companies engaged in focused discussions about their opportunities with students, and what kind of experience they would be able to gain. The main difference from other job fairs was the emphasis on experience. Employers didn’t try and impress students with a great number of benefits, student-debut reduction programs, or starting pay rates, even though some employer’s used these factors to sway those who were interested.
Featured internship’s ranged from seeking qualified upper-class student candidates, with applicable coursework or experience, to targeting more entry-level positions for students at any level in their academic career. Students were busy networking, handing out resumes, and receiving information about opportunities. As an added bonus for those attending, the internship fair provided the opportunity for a complementary professional photo taken by a photographer.
While many employers were seeking students from all majors, there was a larger concentration of internships in information technology, engineering, and marketing, along with similar fields, where previous experience is extremely valuable. The internships available focused on social media and technology reflected the opportunities that are available in today’s changing economy, and help meet the current demand that’s present in these sectors.
“We wanted to create an awareness of internships, that they’re available, and a lot of employers in the area are currently seeking interns,” said Desiree Wickman, one of the internship fair’s planners from SCSU’s Career Service Center said about featuring internships, rather than employment opportunities.
Wickman also talked about the employer’s response to the fair’s shift to just internships.
“The difference between employer’s wanting to come this year versus last year, was that this year we ended up with a full page of waitlisted employers, and last year we did not.”
“Internships are underreported within the St. Cloud State student community, so we have to ensure we provide the opportunities for students, as well as local employers,” Wickman said.
Wickman said that “this used to be the summer job fair and we maintained the same timeline. Also, we have job and internship fair’s throughout the year, and internships most likely will be featured earlier if necessary,” regarding how some summer internships require that applications be sent in earlier in the year.
According to the Career Services website, an internship is a critical part of the college education experience and comes with numerous benefits. The SCSU Career Services website goes over specific information about internships, and all that students can gain from one. Career Services offers help with resumes, cover letters, and with applications, as well as tips for preparing for upcoming internship/career fairs.