The pressure to receive real-world experience before heading off to a full-time job is more crucial than ever. As NSU students, we all know we should do internships at some point, but some of us do not necessarily know how to prepare for them. Jacquelyn Pires, career advisor in the Office of Career Development, offered her expertise on internships and other experiential education opportunities.
Why are internships important?
“Other than gaining real-world experience, the first thing that comes to mind is that it lets you test drive your career. That experience will be eye-opening and transformative because you get that real-world application so you’ll be more knowledgeable, develop skills to be successful and build a network in the field. Experience is incredibly imperative. You also come away with a better understanding of yourself.”
How should students choose an internship?
“Look at what the job description entails because it’s going to clue you in on the education and years of experience that are necessary [to perform within that role].”
Who should students talk to on campus for information about internships?
“The Office of Career Development, faculty and academic advising are all great resources. [Speaking with] faculty is huge because we have full-time faculty and adjunct professors who have been professionals in their own right and they have a network that they tap into as well.”
When is the best time to apply for internships?
“Start doing it now. This is primetime for summer internships and it’s not just going to be limited to someone who’s entering their senior year or getting ready to graduate … Update your documents, Linkedin, start brainstorming, reconnecting with people and looking online to see what opportunities are available.”
“It also depends on the industries. Smaller companies sometimes have an ongoing [need for interns] throughout the year while others only need interns during the fall, summer or spring. [Students should] come to our Winter Internship Expo on Apr. 3 from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. to find out about some companies offering internships. However, I think the key to applying to internships is planning ahead. Do not wait till May [to start looking for summer internships]; the process is going on now.”
What are some other ways that students can find out about available internships?
“I would say Handshake because that is specific to NSU students. If you are a current student, you have access to Handshake and every single position that’s been posted on there has been vetted by our office.
“Handshake is a national platform used by Stanford, University of Michigan and University of Miami so there’s an employer database on there that extends across the U.S. So, as our student population continues to become so diverse, we’ve been able to grow our network just by being on Handshake.”
Can students earn academic credit for internships?
“Yes, but students should work with their academic advisors to see what their options are to earn academic credit. Building an internship into your curriculum is an incredible opportunity that NSU provides that should be a priority.
“If it’s determined by your academic advisor that gaining credit isn’t possible until your junior year and you want to start gaining experience sooner, that’s when you work with our career development office. You’ll be able to look into what we called ‘a co-curricular internship’ which has no bearing on your academic plan. In this case, there’s no class that you’d have to register for; this is just a separate application you will do on your own.”
If a student has never had a job or internship, what should they do?
“Come meet one-on-one with a career advisor in the Horvitz Administration building Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. during Career LABS. Bring your laptop and an advisor will help you with your documents, like building a resume.
“I think one of the misconceptions is that it’s kind of scary. How do I create a resume for the first time? I’ve never done that before. Let us be your guide; we can help you create it from scratch without a template.”