Merciad how to: Internships


Marina Coletta

Fulfilling an internship is one of the most important activities a student can do. Mercyhurst offers various resources that can guide students in finding their ideal internship.

Brittany Smyth, Staff writer

Mercyhurst students who complete an internship program are most like to succeed.

According to the Mercyhurst internship program, Mercyhurst graduates who participated in experiential learning activities received double the number of job offers than those who did not. If that statistic is not strong enough to inspire students to begin looking for an internship, Mercyhurst graduates who completed an internship receive a higher salary than those who did not.

According to a study conducted in 2012 by the Chronicle of Higher Education, a survey of 50,000 employers identified that the most important attribute they look for in a résumé was internship experience.

A study done in 2015 by the Pew Research Center shows that 50 percent of students stated that doing an internship as an undergraduate would have helped them prepare for the job they wanted. At Mercyhurst, Kyle Foust, Ph. D, director of the internship program, helps students find internships in their field of study and further boost their chances of obtaining their dream jobs.

“Students should start looking for internships after their sophomore year of college. It will allow them to learn the basics of their major before interning at a company,” Foust said.
Foust suggests that before beginning the internship search, you think about what it is that sparks a passion. This will be the first step in helping you choose an internship.

If students are having trouble deciding what that passion is, faculty and academic advisors are more than willing to offer you advice about the career path you are interested in.

Once your passion has been determined, the next step is narrowing down options. Students need to ask themselves questions such as: “What is it that I really want to do? Is there a certain department I want to work in? A certain person I want to work for? Where would I want to do my internship; locally or nationally?”  Although this is not as cut-and-dry of a response, it will help you narrow down choices.

Once the options have been limited, you can begin the search.

Mercyhurst has a pre-established website called Career Connect, which features over 1,000 internships. Be sure you sign-up to start searching for internship options and get in contact with the people who may have had an influence in your internship choice.

Foust suggests using another search engine called Career Shift. After creating an account, you can upload résumés, cover letters and recommendation letters. Career Shift allows the you to run a customized search for an internship or job.

Completing an internship gives students practical experience, makes them more competitive in the job market and helps to network and gives a stronger confirmation that a particular career or field is right for you.

Another tip Foust gives students is joining LinkedIn. Employers are now using LinkedIn to find potential employees. Using LinkedIn to your advantage and looking for jobs and internships available in the market gives a competitive advantage. Creating a profile allows employers to see your attributes prior to setting up an interview, so make sure the profile is professional.

To students who use social media often, clean it up. Over 69 percent of employers have rejected a candidate based on content found on their social media sites. This could be due to poor communication skills, inappropriate photos or credentials do not match the LinkedIn profile. After an interview, 47 percent of employers look at social media sites after receiving an application.

For more information about internships, contact your faculty advisor or Kyle Foust for more information. Please contact Kyle Foust during his office hours in Egan 214, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call ext. 2171 or email him at