Students who have yet to make summer plans would highly benefit from applying for internships. Many deadlines for applications are approaching, so interested students must act quickly.
Internships can help students gain field experience and acquire jobs after graduation. Sixty percent of employers prefer to hire students with relevant work experience gained through an internship, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Polly Matteson, Career Center assistant director, says employers look for students who have had at least one internship or similar type of “real world” experience.
Even if an internship is not directly related to a student’s field of study, Matteson said students should focus on transferable skills. Transferable skills — also referred to as “soft skills” — include teamwork, communication, leadership and analytical thinking. Any job focused on developing these skills is valuable, says Matteson.
Additionally, Matteson says learning to work with people of different ages at a new level of professionalism is an excellent part of what a student can gain from an internship.
Matteson said deadlines for most programs are fast approaching, however, there are still several companies accepting applications for the summer — specifically for marketing and government.
“Start early if possible, but don’t think it’s too late,” Matteson says. “If [students] haven’t started [applying], don’t use that as an excuse not to start.”
#HireTruman is an online job board that all Truman State students have access to, and it is a good place to begin searching for internships, says Matteson.
Matteson says an important thing to remember is that students need to think outside the box when hunting for internships. There are often jobs students don’t think about that teach similar transferable skills, she says. Whatever work students do, they should seek more responsibilities that broaden their skillsets, says Matteson.
“Students need to be proactive,” Matteson says. “[Employers] are not going to come to their door and knock on it.”
Truman alumnus Emily Berry says she learned a lot from her summer internship experience. Berry graduated in May 2015 and completed an internship the summer after her junior year.
Berry says she did not have any field experience prior to her internship. The internship helped her apply what she learned in the textbook to the real world, and it helped her get a job with a company that she loves, says Berry.
“It gave me a ton of experience that I wouldn’t get in the classroom,” Berry says. “I wish I could have done more.”
Students who would like to travel over the summer may also have the option of completing an internship abroad.
Career Advisor Marisa Badamo says participating in internships abroad is beneficial because students gain knowledge of international issues. Most companies are becoming increasingly more globalized, says Badamo.
“Knowledge of how the global economy or global issues … would potentially affect the business is going to be something that makes you stand apart as an applicant,” Badamo says.
Badamo says goinglobal.com is an excellent source to help students find internships abroad. Programs are listed by country, and students can look up the type of internship in whatever region they would like to work in, says Badamo.
When selecting internship programs, relevance is good but not entirely necessary, Badamao says. Any abroad program will enhance students’ transferable skills, specifically self-reliance, says Badamo.
“The biggest thing is to just go with an open mind,” Badamo says. “Worst case scenario [the experience] would make a great story.”