One of the biggest fears of every graduating college student is not getting that first real job or having to settle for one that is far below what was expected. With the large number of students graduating every year, the job market is becoming more and more competitive. Many companies are flooded with resumes of possible applicants, and a basic college degree is often not enough to land a desirable position. However, what if there was something on a resume that could make it stand out above the rest? That “something” that can make this dream a reality is the experience of an internship. An internship gives students the opportunity to work for a company or organization while learning the skills that are necessary to perform a specific job. Students also get a chance to assist current employees with day-to-day tasks.
Often times, the intern will work with a supervisor or an internship coordinator who will help the student identify key skills and correct any possible mistakes. There are internships for almost any type of major, and the companies that offer these opportunities are usually more then happy to have the help. In turn, the student gets a rare chance to enrich their college experience with real world situations and problemsolving skills.
Some of these pre-graduation jobs are paid while others simply provide a good resume booster. The extra effort of obtaining and completing an internship can pay off in a big way. Sometimes an internship may even turn into a job offer upon completion. This is not a guarantee, but if a student proves that they are a hard worker and an asset to a company, it is a definite possibility.
Many faculty members and campus leaders encourage the use of internships to not only strengthen a resume, but also to broaden a studentʼs learning experience. Dr. Dennis Klinzing, chair of the Department of Communications stated this when asked about the importance of an internship: “First and foremost, the professional and personal benefits a student gains from being in a work environment with a supervisor or mentor are essential.” He went on to describe the tremendous opportunity and how to apply what is learned in the classroom to a real world setting. There is also the opportunity to make important contacts that could be crucial in securing a job position in the future. The satisfaction of achieving success in a business environment is a great achievement for students as well. Dr. Klinzing has approved and monitored the internships of many Communication students, and he knows that these opportunities can really provide a great basis for future career plans.
There are many ways to go about finding a possible internship, and the majority of methods do not even require a student to leave campus. First, any interested students should visit the office of their specific major and see if there are postings of possible positions. Some departments even have entire folders dedicated to companies seeking interns.
It is a wise idea to schedule an appointment with the Chair of the department as well, since these faculty members may have some helpful tips on which opportunities are available and worthwhile. Unfortunately, some companies may advertise for interns with promises that sound too good to be true. An advisor or chairperson may be able to steer students away from these positions and back onto the right path. The chairperson will also be able to inform students about the possibility of taking the internship for class credits. The policies vary between departments so it is necessary to obtain all necessary information before making any assumptions. The Twardowski Career Development Center is another resource for finding internships.
This facility is available not only to assist students in finding jobs but also in securing an internship experience. It is possible to search potential openings by visiting their website or by stopping into their offices on the top floor of Lawrence. An internship notebook is available for any interested student who decides to stop by the Career Development Center. This is a very valuable resource for every West Chester student who is looking for job experience before graduation. Elizabeth A. Giangiulio, who is the director for the center, says, “Getting an internship is a big step in developing a solid job search strategy. Students get an opportunity to try out a career that they are interested in and see up close and personal what a specific job is really all about.”
Students may want to contact companies on their own in order to check if there are any possible opportunities to gain experience. This extra effort can present the student as someone who is ambitious and driven so a company may be willing to offer an interview or an actual internship position. The downside to this method though, is that some companies are so large that information is often overlooked and phone calls may go unanswered. Finally, fellow classmates are an excellent source of information concerning internships.
Since many students have already been through this searching process and have actual obtained and completed internships, their advice could be very valuable. Several departments on campus have groups that actually help students learn more about career opportunities both before and after graduation. By getting involved in one of these organizations, a student gets the chance to interact with other people who have been through the same process.
These people will often be more than happy to make recommendations or provide contact information upon request. Often the key to getting that great internship is developing good networking skills. This is an important lesson not only in obtaining pre-graduation opportunities but also in securing that first job. Internships are a great way to meet people in a specific field and to find out if that career path is the right one to continue with. It is much easier to switch careers before graduation then it is afterwards.
There are so many opportunities within the job market, but the first step is deciding which area is the right fit. Through this actual hands-on opportunity, students can start making the decisions that will lead them down the road to professional success.