ASU's top tools to help students find an internship

SPM reporter Dominique Ziegler researched the best ways to find an internship

Finding an internship is something that all students will eventually have to go through. Although there are many different internship opportunities, it can be difficult to find them. 

I went on a search to find the easiest way students could get an internship through resources provided by Arizona State University and came across a few great options. 

ASU has developed a new online platform for students to find internships and full time jobs. This online source is called Handshake, and recently replaced the Sun Devil Career Link this past summer.

Amy Michalenko, ASU Director of Service Delivery and Strategic Initiative, says that Handshake is available to all students as well as alumni who have graduated within the last five years. The goal of Handshake is to provide students with a simpler way to make their career goals achievable. 

“I think it’s important for people to understand that there’s so much opportunity housed in this one place," Michalenko says. "… We were very thoughtful about trying to eliminate the multiple places that students have to go in order to access things, we were very intentional about saying, ‘We want to have one entry point when it comes to students’ career and professional development.'"

Online tools

This new tool allows students to build up their profile from the convenience of their homes and to go at their own pace of finding an employer. Students are also encouraged to start building their profile as early as possible, meaning freshmen also have the opportunity to receive internships. 

“Since we launched to employers, there have been 6,505 opportunities posted in our system just since May and those positions are both internship and full-time opportunities,” Michalenko says. 

Where can students find this online platform? Where every tool that can be utilized by students exists – their MyASU account. It's under the campus services tab on the right hand side under jobs and careers. Students or alumni can log into the system with their ASURITE ID and password.

Although this is an online platform, students can choose the amount of help they would like from career services. 

“It’s really up to the student what kind of engagement they or support they feel like they need … so certainly they can jump on the system and begin searching for internships and applying for internships themselves,” Michalenko says. “If they’d like more support, either with somebody to help them build their resume, build up their profile on Handshake, or identify the right types of opportunities or what companies might be right for them, we do have a staff.”

On-campus help

Career Services has locations on every campus where students can make appointments through the Handshake website.  

Looking at the website myself, the profile is relatively easy to set up and doesn’t require a lot of time to create. Students can pull their resume information into their profile, which is a great way to keep track of past employment experiences to keep things up to date.

“They have the option to make the profile public to the employers that are approved in our system," Michalenko says. "They can also share their profile peer-to-peer as well across the Handshake network. The more information they have in their profile the smarter the system is for them."

The system focuses on a selected career goal and tailors the information that you see with what recommendations and events are shown.

With this new development, it should make it much easier for students to have one clear platform for finding internships. With Handshake being relatively new, career services has not had a lot of opportunities to spread the word so students may not be aware that this system is available.

“I think the biggest thing that we want students to know is that career services is something that is not just for seniors," Michalenko says. "This is a resource that’s here to support students throughout their entire time at ASU. We really want to drive home that it’s important to get connected with us very early on to take advantage of all of the resources that we have to offer. And I think the key thing about Handshake is that it is the best way to get connected."

For students who feel more comfortable meeting with an advisor in person, every career services location is available to speak with students and help them. Each college also has their own events they hold for students to find out about internships.

Tips and tricks to landing an internship

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication holds interview days for students to have short interviews depending on what emphasis they want career wise. 

Krista Hinz, the program coordinator senior for The Walter Cronkite School, is an ASU alumnae and now faculty member who has achieved all of her career connections through ASU. 

“I met mentors who are like account executives, or account supervisors, or just even the people I reported to really supported me and helped me connect to other people in the field here in Phoenix to get my first job,” Hinz says. 

I think there is a stereotypical view of interns who are only there to run errands and not learn real things. However, through ASU, students have a better chance of getting professional jobs where they are learning useful skills.

“We have a really robust program — we vet our employers is what I’m trying to say," Hinz says. "We aren’t going to send you guys off to go make coffee or get water or do typical kind of lowly intern-ly things. We want our interns to be hands on professional, practical experience."

Something that students should know when applying for internships and jobs is how important it is to create a portfolio or LinkedIn account. Having a tight headshot for your portfolio lets employers know who they will be interviewing and if you look professional.

“The more you feed into LinkedIn the more they’re going to populate you and show you to relevant employers,” Hinz says.

As for actual interviews, Hinz says it is important to be professional and use common sense. You want to appear confident and maintain eye contact throughout interviews.

Network, network, network

Another uncommon way to find internships is through ASU clubs. Upasna Patel, a sophomore biochemistry major, joined a pre-pharmacy club to get extra help with her career goals. Through the club, she found a paid internship to start this fall.

“Over the summer, I received an email from the president and I guess somebody at my new internship found out there was a pre-pharm club at ASU, so she wrote a letter about a paid internship,” Patel says.

By joining this club, Patel found an internship that she found easy to apply for and used her connections to iron out her resume. Patel joined the club because she was having a difficult time searching for an internship, especially one that has to do with pharmaceuticals.  

“I wouldn’t have found out about my internship without pre-pharm club,” Patel says.

After my research, I concluded that there are many different ways to find an internship, and it's not as scary as it may seem.

Reach the columnist at or follow @thedominiquez on Twitter.

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