Many seniors spend at least a little time stressing about finding a job after graduation. But not Erin Zakin. She turned the internship experience of her junior year directly into a job.
When Zakin first began working for Sacunas Integrated Communications, a business-to-business marketing company, she created the internship position. “Take initiative,” said Zakin. “Make demands.” That first semester, she put in eight hours a week analyzing the B2B marketing industry, writing case studies and helping with a rebrand. “Putting that much effort in the little things pays off,” Zakin said. All of her work and dedication translated into an extended internship for the rest of her college year.
In her spring semester, Zakin continued with Sacunas, but transitioned into specific public relations work like writing press releases and drafting social media posts. As a public relations major, the specialized work thrilled her, and the excitement only continued when they offered her an internship extension over the summer. In the summer of 2016, right before senior year, Zakin became an account management intern and started working more directly with actual clients. Sacunas focuses on business-to-business communication, so Zakin’s new job allowed her to connect and work with businesses that serve other organizations and businesses.
It was during the fall 2016 semester that the company asked Zakin to stay on full time. Because she graduated early in December 2016, Zakin continued working as an intern through the fall semester, and waited to fully join the team until after graduation. However, she says that even as an intern, the company treated her like a regular employee. Zakin spent her final semester as an undergrad working 30 hours a week at Sacunas.
When she transitioned into full-time employment after graduation, Zakin continued with her public relations work, and also began to help manage the internship program. “I’ve been trying to encourage people to apply to Sacunas because I love it so much,” Zakin said. Now that she sits on the other side of the interview desk and has the ability to review interns, Zakin understands the importance of initiative even more. “Taking initiative is the absolute biggest thing. When I was doing my initial search, I wasn’t looking for the postings. If a company interested me, I would call them. And when you actually have the internship, don't let that stop. Continue seeking work.”
Zakin continued, “No one has time to give the intern work, so you need to take time to go and make friends with the other people in your office and say, ‘Is there anything I can help you with.’ It shows people that you’re paying attention and that you really care about the company, and that will lead to more opportunities.”
While Zakin’s situation might not resemble most seniors’ experiences, and not everyone should expect their internships to turn directly into a job, all students can learn from her example. Take initiative and make demands. Putting in the time and effort to do a good job and seek out work pays off in the long run.
- Miriam A. Thurber ‘19