Indiana University

Indiana University Journalism

Career Cafes offer guidance on conducting job, internship search

Lena Morris | March 1, 2013
career cafe
Photo by Lena Morris
Director of Career Services Marcia Debnam talks with senior Taryn Rosenberg during a recent Career Cafe session. The one-on-one guidance helps students develop job and internship seeking strategies.
With the end of the spring semester approaching, many students are looking for internships and employment to fill their summer plans. Career Services director Marcia Debnam offers weekly Career Café hours that assist journalism students in the process.

“I try to help the person try to figure out where they are at the whole process of understanding how to apply for the opportunities, what materials they need, and how to put the materials together,” she said.

Journalism senior Lauren Cotarski said having Debnam look over her internship applications was helpful and reassuring.

“It definitely makes me feel a lot more confident in terms of sending my resumes to these professional companies,” she said.

The drop-in sessions in the journalism library provide a specific time and place for students to bring their concerns one-on-one to Debnam, who offers guidance about finding jobs and internships.

“I try to get a feel of what kind of person they are,” she said. “Usually, people will give you clues about themselves that help me in giving them tips and advice.”

A common issue with students searching for internships is being too picky with whether it pays. Debnam said students often have misconceptions about unpaid internships and give up too easily.

“Sometimes what people say to me isn’t a question but more of a statement,” she said. “They say they need to get an internship but can’t do unpaid, and that’s really based on an assumption that there’s no solution to that problem when in fact there are things you can do.”

While not everyone can land internship scholarships, Debnam said it’s possible to sustain a part-time paid job during an unpaid internship, if that’s what it takes.

“I often tell young people, if you really want to do it, there are always ways you can do it,” she said.

Debnam said many students come up to her and express their struggle with getting internships without prior experiences. She said that’s a problem that can easily be fixed, especially at IU, where student organizations are at abundance.

“Of course, the immediate response is there are many student media on campus you can get involved in,” she said. “With IUSTV, IDS, WIUX, American Student Radio and so on, there are a lot of things that students can do right here that are open do all students.”

If you can’t make it to the Career Café, Debnam said there are plenty of resources to aid in the internship searching process on the journalism website.

“We have a couple of different databases that students can look at either current or previous opportunities to see where they might apply,” she said.

Debnam said it’s crucial to have at least several internship experiences before graduation.

“More and more internships have become almost an entry-level job,” she said. “To a lot of employees, it’s their way of testing the employee without hiring them.”

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