The real world is an inevitable future for all college students, and along with the promise of the real world comes preparation for such.
For students who will soon graduate and with the summer months right around the corner, internships and co-op opportunities should be in the back of every student’s mind.
For students looking to obtain an internship over a semester long period or over the summer, the university’s Center for Experiential Education has everything you need.
Cheryl Rink, assistant director for the Center of Experiential Education, said that it is crucial for students to obtain internships while in college.
“It’s so important that students gain the experience so that they are marketable in the job search process,” she said.
Rink also said that internships help students shape exactly what they may want to pursue as a career.
“Internships and real-world experience also give students the chance to test out their field to see what they actually are planning on pursuing,” she said. “It can help them to shape ideas and specifics for the potential careers even more.”
Internships are often confused with “co-op” opportunities, but they are not the same. Rink said that while internships and co-op opportunities are both major-related experiences, co-ops are more long-term, while internships tend to last on a semester basis.
Rink suggests that students do at least two or three internships while in college, but it mostly varies by major and the field of interest.
“The more experience you get, the better,” Rink said. “It will only help you in the long run.”
The university’s Center for Experiential Education works with students in many parts of the internship and job searching process, including building and enhancing resumés, creating cover letters and even scheduling mock interviews.
“We see ourselves as the liaison among the students, employers and university,” she said. “We’re there to make sure that if you need us as a resource, we’re available to you.”
The Center for Experiential Education also forwards students’ résumés to potential employers. Rink said it is important for students to start utilizing the center’s services their freshman year, to at least become familiar with the office’s services and get their resumé started. Rink said it is highly suggested for students to utilize the center their sophomore year, as many internship opportunities can be available for their second semester.
The process of creating a résumé is one that is also crucial to the job searching process, but Rink said it doesn’t seal the deal within itself.
“You won’t get a job based solely on your résumé,” she said. “Make sure you know what the employer is looking for, and match up your ability with what they are looking for in employees.”
On a résumé, the key information to include is educational background, relevant experience and previous internships, undergraduate research if any, leadership roles in any clubs and activities, and any volunteer work.
“When employers know what clubs and activities you’re involved in, it shows how well you can juggle and balance these activities with your academics,” she said.
Also, while visual appearance is important, it is not to be overdone.
“Overall, résumé should be clear, concise and error free,” Rink said. “Employers may not look at it for long, but what they see on that one page will determine whether you get an interview call.”
Linsdey Kurtz, a senior English and pre-law major, is graduating in December and recently visited the Center for Experiential Education for help with her résumé, as she has been applying for jobs for the past few months.
“I needed a little direction to spruce up my résumé,” she said. “They helped me make stylistic changes that will hopefully help me ‘wow’ my future employer.”
Kurtz said it is important for students to utilize this office because of the help they offer.
“Students looking for a job or an internship should use the center as soon into their search as possible,” she said. “In this kind of economy, any help is good help.”
Rink said one of the most important things to consider when both creating a resume and during the job search process is thinking how you are going to “seal the deal” with your employer.
“You have to think of how you’re going to sell yourself to the employer,” she said. “You have to be confident and know what you’re capable of and also translate that to the employer.”
Overall, Rink said the biggest advice she gives to students who are looking for internships and jobs is to stay involved.
“It’s important to take an active role and stay involved in the process,” she said. “It’s not enough to just create a résumé and then wait around for results. Make sure employers know you’re there and know what you can do. It takes more than a good résumé to land the job you want.”
Students who are looking to research internships and possible placement opportunities should contact Career Development and Employment Services at 871-7680.