Civil engineering senior Greg Markway knows a thing or two about the importance and preparation that go into an internship. Markway, graduating at the end of the Fall 2013 semester, has interned for the Iowa Department of Transportation and Adjustable Forms Concrete Construction (Chicago, Ill.).
The starting point to these experiences lies in “finding what you are really passionate about. It might take a little time, and it may require you to even switch majors, but it is important to keep trying until you find what it is you are truly passionate about,” Markway said.
One way to help find this, as well as increase your skills outside of your major, is to take as many electives as you can over your four years, Markway said. People often neglect to find specific areas of interest that exist within their classes, Markway has seen. He said that he enjoyed his internship experiences because concepts and practices directly linked to his coursework at Iowa State.
It is also important to take advantage of the resume building and interview workshops, Iowa State University College of Engineering Career Services hosts. “The workshops always seem to go unnoticed, but you don’t realize how great they really are until you attend one,” Markway said.
He also encourages people to attend the Iowa State Engineering Career Fairs. “When it comes time for the career fairs, don’t be afraid to walk right up to employers and show them how passionate you really are,” Markway said. “Remember – passion leads to a great attitude, and great attitude to employers stands out above any resume.”
When the time comes for an interview, he says that it is important to research the company before you proceed further. Markway believes that the two best ways to prepare for an interview are through the Career Services interview workshops and using an interview questions list to practice from. “It never really occurred to me that I could be interviewed by someone outside of the engineering department. The interview workshops helped me prepare for that.”
On what not to do during an interview, Greg specifically stated that many people go into an interview with an impressive resume, GPA, and skill set, which is fine. However, the fundamental flaw is that they come off as arrogant to the interviewer. “In the end, remember that there is more than just having an impressive resume, your direct interaction during the interview will say much more about you in the end.”
Greg Markway ends his advice to fellow students by saying, “Remember that in any of these situations you are going to be vulnerable, and you are going to mess up a lot. But the good news is that all you can do is learn from these experiences. Over time, trial and error turns into passion and focus,” In the end, this is what we are all looking for.
CCEE Communications Intern Alex Hagar contributed to this story.