Looking for a Job? – Consider Interning
By Vickie Moller, student, Long Island Center-Hauppauge Unit and 2011-2012 student representative, Student Affairs Committee
February 8, 2013
Internship programs afford students the opportunity to gain valuable practical experience in their field of interest, while earning college credit. The hands-on work they do can serve to confirm or refine both their career goals and their future studies. In addition, internship experiences make students attractive to potential employers following graduation and may become a route to secure employment before graduation.
In her article, “Preparing Undergraduates for Careers: An Argument for the Internship Practicum,” Jennifer Bay, assistant professor of English at Purdue University, said:
“The transition from apprentice to expert can be difficult for students, but an internship course helps to bridge those two subject positions by providing the familiar support structure of a classroom with the independence of the onsite internship. Students can start to inhabit the role of professional while still learning.”
While most learning at SUNY Empire State College does not occur in traditional classroom settings, its students have the distinct advantage of studying within the context of an institution of higher learning that celebrates and encourages unique and innovative programs and provides flexible ways for them to learn in an entirely supportive environment.
Part of that flexibility involves programs of study that allow students to investigate professional internship opportunities and to work in collaboration with their component mentors and other faculty members to create academic frameworks around those they decide to pursue.
In his article, “Internships,” Jack Wilson, principal and founder of Career Sciences, a human-resource consulting firm specializing in career development and transition programs for the technical profession, encourages students seeking internships to speak with academic and administrative officials and counselors at their schools for leads and suggestions. In addition, agencies, listings in newspapers and trade journals and directories available at libraries are excellent resources for information, leads and referrals.
Wilson also suggests making direct unsolicited contact with several growing companies whether or not they have an internship program or advertised openings. He says that since you may be the only one approaching a particular company and there is no competition, this approach can be just as productive, if not more so, than applying for an advertised position.
In addition, Wilson encourages making direct contact with the top manager in the functional area where you want to work rather than writing to the personnel or human resources department. “With a little salespersonship and a good resume, you can convince them that having a high-quality, professional intern like yourself would be a real boon to their company,” he said.
And once secured, internship positions provide students with the unique opportunity of demonstrating their skills, abilities and value from “within” an organization. By executing their responsibilities with an attitude of excellence no matter how mundane or how seemingly insignificant the task and, when possible, doing more than is required of them, interns can grow to become an integral and indispensable part of an organization.
Who knows, besides gaining valuable experience, critical academic and professional insight and earning college credit, a student intern could likely end up with a job!
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / http://www.freedigitalphotos.net