How Not to Get an Internship


By Marcus Stierwalt

Reflecting on my experience of how I obtained my internship at Schneider Downs, I think back to the career fair where I had my first exposure to the company. It was an experience that I will never forget, not because I was able to wow the company and obtain an interview for an internship, but rather how I was almost dumb enough to lose the opportunity. If not for a tremendous recruiter, I would not be with Schneider Downs today.

I attend The Ohio State University, and the recruiting season for students starts almost immediately after fall classes. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I had one main goal for myself, and that was to obtain an internship. I had spent my freshman year getting involved in organizations and adjusting to college life, as well as networking with a few companies. Like many other students, I planned on attending the career fair to talk to companies about obtaining an internship for the upcoming summer. I had not been to a career fair my freshman year and was relieved when I heard about an accounting-specific career fair the day before the general one. In preparation for the career fair I targeted a few companies that I was interested in and started editing my resume. Thinking that I would add a personal touch, I decided that in my objective statement I would add the company name that I was giving the resume to. For example, my objective statement went something like, “To obtain an accounting internship with (insert company name here).” I was looking for something to make myself stick out and thought this might give me the edge over other potential candidates. So, I printed my resumes for my selected companies and suited up for the fair.

When I arrived, I walked around to get a feel for what I was doing then jumped in to talking to companies. After a few rounds of learning about other companies and trying to impress recruiters, I found an empty table to organize my pad-folio that now contained many company pamphlets. About this time, I spotted a friend of mine standing at the Schneider Downs table, and I decided to walk over and say hello. She had interned with Schneider Downs the summer before and was helping recruit. We talked for a little and I was about to take my leave when she asked if I wanted to meet her recruiter. I shook hands with the woman and we introduced ourselves. She asked for a resume, and to my horror, I had not printed one out for Schneider Downs. Not knowing what to do, I shuffled through the resumes for other companies and shamefully told her I had not printed a specific one out for her company. She laughed and told me it was fine and that any resume would work. At this point, I was pretty sure that I had ruined my chance with Schneider Downs, and after saying goodbye, I left thinking I would never hear from that company again. Much to my surprise, I received a call for an interview. Fast forward nine months later, and I have an internship with Schneider Downs.

I think that this story speaks to how open-minded and caring Schneider Downs is as a firm. They were willing to look past my mistake and give me a second chance. Now that I am here, I realize how great it is to work for a company that cares so much about their employees.

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