Employers frequently talk about the importance of internships. Internships give students opportunities to apply what they have learned in the classroom, learn new and practice technical skills as well as experience the culture of an organization and understand the expectations of management. Internships give employers the opportunity to “try before they buy.” Supervisors can assess each potential employee’s technical skills while observing their work ethic, interpersonal skills and cultural fit within the organization.
Every student should plan to complete at least one internship experience during their college years. However, it is important to know that there are other ways to get experience. There are many opportunities available on campus and so many other things that you can do on your own.
Consider joining a student organization where you could be using your technical skills to design and build a car, an aircraft or a concrete canoe. Sign up to compete in a hackathon. Get a job on campus. Get involved in research. Become a student leader and strengthen your interpersonal skills.
Did you know that employers like to see personal projects on your résumé? These are the things that you do completely on your own. This shows that you have a genuine interest in your work and are willing to spend your own time doing and learning. Did you create an app, rebuild the motor of your car or create a website? Put these things on your résumé. Create strong bullets that show the challenge, the actions you took and the results of your actions.
Career Fairs are big events that give employers and students a chance to meet face-to-face. They occur at the times of the year when corporate recruiters are looking for college students to fill summer internships and for new graduates to begin their professional careers. The Fulton Schools Career Center provides a series of presentations and prep events to help you present your best self at our career fairs. The time of the year for you to be practicing your skills and gaining experience goes way beyond peak recruiting season on campus. It is always the right time for you to gain experience!
Joyce Donahue is a Career Counselor in the Fulton Schools Career Center. She is a Nationally Certified Career Counselor and holds “Master Career Counselor” membership status in the National Career Development Association.