In today’s employer interview, we got to speak with someone with fresh memories of what it’s like to be an intern: Katie Mang, a Kent State alum who’s now the manager of member engagement at the National Society of Collegiate Scholars in Washington, D.C.
1. How did you get started in the industry? How can someone who is interested in your work get started?
During my senior year of college, I was really involved in various clubs, campus radio and an honors society. Originally I wanted to go into broadcasting, but I decided to pursue internships in graduate school mentoring college students and my first job was a career advisor. I really love working with students to get them involved in leadership and service, which led me to NSCS! The best place to get started in higher education is to get involved on campus and take on student leadership opportunities. Consider graduate programs that offer student personnel tracks or nonprofits that work with universities.
2. What’s the future of your industry or job?
It is a very exciting time to work with college students! Generally, they are really connected online, involved on campus and interested in civic engagement. The demographics are changing, as well. Many honors societies now work with online schools, non-traditional students and schools overseas. I foresee an increase in service initiatives and social media engagement in the future.
3. What do you look for when you hire an intern or entry-level candidate?
Individuals with strong communication skills and desire to learn always stand out for internship candidacy. When I have hired students in the past, I looked for campus leadership experience, strong writing examples and creativity. At NSCS, we value TEAM (Together Engaging All Members) work and collaboration, so we look for interns that want to be a part of the TEAM.
4. What is one thing an intern can do to make a favorable impression?
The little things count: showing up on time, coming to meetings prepared, asking questions and displaying proper business etiquette. I have worked with interns that have a lot of contact with the public, so those with strong phone and email skills make a great impression.
5. Can you share a positive intern story and an intern horror story? No names needed
The best internship I held was one created with a peer and faculty member. We saw an opportunity to host a networking event, conference and career fair for our fellow classmates. We created our own job descriptions, goals, evaluations and learned a lot about starting a project from the ground up. It was beneficial to the school and our peers, and we also had the opportunity to work directly with many employers.
During one of my very first internship interviews, I was led to a series of meetings with a variety of potential supervisors. The last meeting was interrupted and the employer left the room … and did not come back. After an awkward period of waiting, I found the receptionist thanked her for all of their time and left a very nice thank-you note. I followed up but found a better fit with another organization.