Whether still pursuing an undergraduate degree or a master’s degree, internships are very important for students’ success in their future careers.
Various academic programs at colleges and universities require internship experience to graduate. Thus, internships can be vital both academically and in terms of career longevity.
On campus, the Department of Career Services offers Eagle Employment, an online database to connect students in all majors to internship and job opportunities. Through the database, students can search for internship opportunities, sign up for on campus interviews, participate in resume referrals to employers and search the database for employers.
Academically, internships give students the opportunity to see how the skills they learn in class are used in the industry.
“Students who participate in an internship tend to do better in the classroom because they have experienced the skills on the job,” said Amy Yeend, assistant director of career services for the College of Business. “It increases their passion and understanding for their career.”
Internships also provide students with great networking possibilities. After graduation, students often seek full-time employment in entry-level jobs. In many cases, employers hire a lot of their full-time positions through a previous intern pool.
“After completing my first internship at the Lauren Rodgers Museum of Art, I was able to network with other organizations for additional internships,” said Karelia Schmitz, senior public relations major. “Thus, I was able to gain valuable experience in my field and receive other opportunities like working for Dave Ware as a campaign intern and currently working as marketing intern for Albert and Associates Architects.” Experience is key when searching for employment in any industry.
Some students don’t receive a job from an internship, but it increases their résumé and professional experience, allowing them to become more attractive to potential employers.
Typically, most employers prefer students to be in their junior or senior year of college when applying for internships.
It’s important to understand the internship procedures of various companies, whether it be for a fall, spring or summer internship. The majority of students apply for an internship one semester prior to graduating college. Depending on the students’ career path, some companies require students to apply six months or more in advance.
Every semester, Career Services hosts career fairs and workshops on internships and other related topics. “It allows students to identify strategies for locating and securing internships,” Yeend said. “Use all available resources when searching for an internship.”
For more information about internship opportunities or events hosted by Career Services, visit www.usm.edu/career-services.