Karnika Arora ’18 was so keen to get a summer internship in the U.S. after her first year at Grinnell that she walked into the Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS) her second week on campus.
Finding an Internship
The CLS helps students with a variety of job and internship-related services. The office helps students search for job and internship opportunities, hone their resumes and cover letters, and prepare for interviews. Arora took advantage of all of these services. “I brought in my resume from high school, and they told me how to structure it and helped me with descriptions,” she says. She streamlined her resume and constructed sections to target specific job skills.
“In India there isn’t really the idea of an internship,” she says. “They kind of exist in big companies, but they’re not given to people fresh out of high school or undergrads.” They are also, she says, typically unpaid and the responsibilities of interns tend toward the menial. Arora dove into the CLS’s database of internships, deciding that she was interested in policy. She didn’t fully understand what it was when she started out, but the job skills matched her interests and aptitudes: writing and analytical skills.
Getting an Internship
After a mock interview at the CLS, Arora felt prepared for her interview with Verizon the following day. The preparation paid off, as she will be spending her summer in Washington D.C. interning with Ed Senn ’79, which is an impressive — not to mention fully funded — internship for a first-year student to get. “I really want to meet people, network, and do what I love in this internship.” Arora says. She is excited at the prospect of gaining experience and seeing what D.C. is really like.
Funding an Internship
Saw Maw ’16 has already completed two summer internships, and was able to secure both through contacts he already had. He’s grateful to the CLS for the help he got in building his resume and finding funding for what otherwise would have been unpaid internships. Megan Crawford, director of career counseling and exploration, advised him on which specific grants would be best for what he wanted to do. His first year, he applied for and received the Tony Smith '01 Creativity Fund grant and spent the summer working with a film crew on a feature film in Burma.
Getting the Most out of an Internship
Before interns leave for the summer, the CLS also holds an informational session offering tips on conduct and how to establish a long-term relationship with the internship hosts. Summer interns also maintain a blog about their experiences, which Maw found very useful. “When you’re in the internship, you’re so immersed in what you’re doing that you don’t have time to reflect on the experience,” he says.
The CLS helps with every stage of the job and internship search process, from determining one’s interests and options to finding funding to reflecting on the experience. “The CLS,” Arora says, “was so helpful and everyone there was incredibly motivating. They push you in the right direction, help you, and let you know what you need to do.”
Karnika Arora ’18 is an undeclared major from Gurgaon, India and Saw Maw ’16 is an independent major in media and communications from Yangon, Myanmar.