Internships can mean different things to people. To some, an internship may seem daunting, to others it may seem exciting, and to even more, maybe a little of both. Whatever an internship means to you, it’s important to know an internship is vital to your career success.

There are many reasons why having an internship while you are in college is important including getting industry exposure, gaining skills for future career paths, and using them to explore what you want to pursue as a career in life after college.

Career Center perspective

“An internship is a great way to jump-start your career,” said Career Center Internship Manager Debbie Ungson-Walbert. “It can provide you with a unique aspect of your resume that shows future employers that you are well prepared to enter the working world. They also allow you to get a head start on preparing for your career after college. After just a few months at a company you can learn many different things including gaining insight into the industry, developing soft skills, and determining whether this would be a good career for you.”

Employer perspective

Country Financial's Kelsey Gebhart identify students to recruit

Kelsey Gebhardt, talent acquisition specialist, COUNTRY Financial

Companies understand the positive impact that an internship can make on a student as well. According to Kelsey Gebhardt, talent acquisition specialist for Career Center’s partner Country Financial, internships give students a chance to explore their career interests while participating in real-world experiences.

“Internships are basically trial run jobs helping to decide what you do and don’t want to do for a career. It’s such a great opportunity to get real-world experience that will guide a future career path. Internships provide critical on-the-job skills like collaboration, independent work, presentation skills, professional development, networking and more.” These experiences and skills are becoming more and more important for students as they look for their jobs post-graduation. Once a student gains these experiences, they will be more prepared to go into interviews for full-time positions.

Faculty perspective

Terry Lowe

Terry Lowe, instructional assistant professor, Department of Management and Quantitative Methods

College of Business Professor Terry Lowe said internships are vital to your career: “Many campus recruiters are basing a large number of their interview questions on internship assignments and activities. I have seen summer internships called ‘the 12-week interview’ since so much can be learned about a student that often results in a job offer at the end of an internship.” It’s just another reason why it’s so important to find the right one for you.

Student perspective

As a career ambassador for the Career Center, I have found that the best ways to get an internship are to prepare. Consider these internship preparation steps:

  1. Start with building a résumé. This is essential. Make sure yours is ready. Stop by the Career Center during drop-in hours to have it reviewed.
  2. Prepare for the interview. View interview questions in the Career Center’s Career Resource Guide and practice for the interview using InterviewStream, the Career Center’s online video interviewing tool. This will help you to develop answers to potential questions.
  3. Start looking for positions. There are many ways to find an internship, but it’s all about actively pursuing positions that are of interest to you. Whether it is attending a career fair, searching for jobs using Hire-A-Redbird, or using LinkedIn, there are postings all over. You can also find openings by attending the Career Center’s programs and internship fairs.

There are lots of employers seeking to hire Redbirds for internships, and as one of them, you fit the bill!

Julia Shepard is a junior studying managerial economics and statistics, and is serving as a Career Center career ambassador. Connect with her on LinkedIn.