Experience Matters and Internships Are a Way to Get It

You’ve made it to college. Congratulations. However, as you probably know, the degree you will receive in a few years is not going to be enough to get that dream job, even if you have a 4.0 GPA. You need experience. You need an internship.

Diane Klein, assistant director of internships in the Office of Career Development, believes experience matters more than GPA. The knowledge gained during an internship cannot be learned in a classroom. Internships allow you to work in your field and gain experience by contributing to projects, networking with business leaders and learning from others. Employers value an educated and experienced candidate over, simply, an educated one.

Klein said that students live in an academic bubble. And when that bubble bursts at graduation, you want to be ready. Internships can help you figure out what you want to do in life because you get to explore different careers. Finding the right career is like shopping. “You try on a lot of pairs of shoes and see which one fits,” said Klein.

Klein said that doing several internships can help students understand where they belong. The data collected by the U.S. Department of Labor shows that workers between the ages of 18 and 38 change jobs an average of 10 times. Career exploration before graduation can help you avoid multiple career changes and help you stay committed to the right job from the start.

Another advantage of interning is networking. Klein feels that this is the most important skill that a student can learn at an internship. Klein maintains relationships with a variety of companies, such as MTV, Office Depot, and MassMutual so that students have the opportunity to develop relationships with important people in their field. The hope is that these relationships will benefit students in the future.

However, Klein stressed that preparing for an internship is just as important as getting one. The Office of Career Development will prepare you for an internship interview and, once you get the internship, help you take full advantage of the opportunities there. To help you find the right internship you should make an appointment with Klein to discuss what type of internship you want. Then Klein will search her network of companies and identify possible opportunities.

Once you’ve decided on a company, Klein will prepare you for the interview by helping you write a targeted resume and cover letter, scheduling a mock interview, and building self-esteem and confidence.

Once you’re hired for an internship, you can also be a part of the Internship Professional Workshop Series. Klein said the purpose of this series is to help students take full advantage of internships and talk about situations they experience while working.

Chelsea Willis, a junior business administration major who is currently interning with Ford Models, said that the workshops have benefited her. “It has helped me learn what is appropriate in a professional setting and how to network well with the people I work with.”

For more information, please contact the Office of Career Development at (954) 262-7201.

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