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Classroom to Careers: Rachel Reyes

“It’s important to start exploring careers early through internships (because) internships can help you decide what you want and what you don’t want in a future career.”

Well, it’s time to admit it. The days are shorter; the nights are colder, and ISU is abuzz once again as the fall semester kicks into gear. I know it’s tempting to forget about anything outside the I-have-three-tests-next-friday-and-I-ate-pizza-all-week-so-sweat-pants-is-the-best-you’re-gonna-get-from-me-today mentality that plagues all college students. But as we all start this new year fresh, take a moment to think about what you’re really trying to get out of all those cram sessions.

“As a freshman, I didn’t have a specific career in mind, and I was perhaps deterred from applying to internships because I didn’t know what I wanted to do.”

That was Rachel Reyes, a senior here at ISU. This past summer she lived and worked in Austin, Texas as a technical writing intern for National Instruments (NI). She spent her days creating and editing documentation for various hardware products NI produced. To write her documents, she conducted research, collaborated with teams of engineers and technical writers, and used a content management system (CMS) to produce her work. Through this experience, Rachel learned about life in a corporate setting and collaboration in the workplace, but she also learned about a career she might want after college.

At the onset of her journey, Rachel wasn’t convinced that technical writing was her “dream job.” She felt she had an overwhelming amount of options as an English major, and she couldn’t seem to figure out what path to follow. Instead of waiting until a solution came to her, she just decided to take the plunge. She decided to try out technical writing. She advocates for this mentality stating that “it’s important to start exploring careers early through internships (because) internships…can help you decide what you want and what you don’t want in a future career.”

Rachel discovered her internship after chatting with a recruiter on campus. After resolving to apply, she jazzed up her resume and cover letter (with some help from the lovely folks at LAS career services), and she even arranged a mock interview with career services to build her confidence and expertise. As part of her lengthy interviewing process, she provided three writing samples, took an online editing test and partook in a standard interview. She conducted plenty of research on the company and thought up some good answers to common interview questions, but the trials and tribulations were all worth it when she received an offer to go to Austin, TX for the summer.

The experience she received from NI was invaluable. Before her internship, she had some experience through her work for ISU, but her job at NI was her first official internship. The experience taught her about technical writing as a profession, life in a corporate setting, and how to prepare for that inevitable job hunt we all face come senior year.

It’s hard to start looking when you don’t know exactly what you want to do, but you can gain great experience and a wealth of knowledge just like Rachel. You just have to take the plunge and start applying!

And don’t even sweat it because LAS Career Services is totally here to help you along the way.

If you thought technical writing sounded cool, learn more about the profession here!