April 8, 2011
“Real Life College Student” Blog: Internships
Recently, the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA) called out to college and high students interested in blogging their college experiences and lessons learned in order to offer future students of higher education first hand facts and advice from today’s real life college setting. If you are a current college student or high school student preparing to enter college and are interested in blogging for UHEAA, please send an email to ‘email@example.com’ and we will gladly send you details.
The third installment in our “Real Life College Student” blog series is by Utah college student, Cole Spicker. Cole currently studies Chemistry and Spanish. He really enjoys reading, good food and great friends. He admits that he is a little obsessed with education and hopes to make lasting, positive contributions to society. We hope you enjoy this week’s blog on internships!
In a quest to find the perfect simile to introduce this week’s topic, I sadly have to report that I became lost in my work while listening to Rebecca Black’s song “Friday.” After all, today is Friday and I’m looking forward to the weekend. It’s gonna be fun, fun, fun, fun. But never fear — I have spent much time thinking about today’s topic of discussion.
In today’s competitive world it is of the utmost importance that students distinguish themselves – both in written and verbal forms. A student’s resume says a lot about him or her and acts as the initial method of getting to know who you are. Especially in highly sought jobs, interviewers have two piles: the reject pile and the hopeful pile. Among hundreds of possible fellow applicants, what can set you apart? What can you put into your cover letter and resume that shows that you are capable, qualified, and deserving of such a position? There are many solutions to this dilemma.
Internships are extremely helpful in securing a future position at your desired place of employment. Fredonia.edu, reported that “on average, more than 50 percent of students are offered a full-time job after completing an internship.” Statistically, it is in your favor to complete an internship, particularly with the company where you see yourself in 10 or 20 years. The benefits of taking on an internship far outweigh reasons not to do an internship.
- Build your “Soft Skills”
Dale Carnegie Training suggests there is a set of skills referred to as the “soft skills.” These skills cannot be learned in the classroom and cannot be garnered from a book, but are nonetheless indispensable for professional and personal advancement. Such soft skills are divided into five categories: confidence, personal leadership, communication skills, people skills, and attitude control. You can “nurture the executive within” and fine-tune your soft skills by means of an internship. The workplace is the best environment to do such.
- Internships and Career Exploration
An internship affords you the opportunity to explore career options related to your interests, values, skills, and personality. Many freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and, of course, super seniors worry constantly if they have chosen the right major. What better way to test the waters than to submerse yourself in an internship where you can gather insight into a particular industry or organizational culture, develop work-related experience and apply knowledge learned from the classroom.
- It’s All About the Connections
One of the most crucial parts to an internship is the capability to establish and facilitate connections and build a network of contacts. Always approach an internship with enthusiasm, willing to take on new assignments. Be prepared to show off your talents! While students might not give a second thought to PowerPoint creations, social media, smart phones, and the latest and greatest trends, your employers will need your help to be kept up-to-date as they seek to contemporize themselves in what can be an intimidating new technological world.
- The ‘Elevator Pitch’
And lastly — and this does not just pertain to internship-hopefuls — Peter Handal, CEO and president of Dale Carnegie Training, exclaims to students to “always have an ‘elevator pitch’ — a brief description or anecdote about your experiences that, if you find yourself in an elevator with someone from upper management, intrigues them and puts you high on their radar. Always leave them wanting more!”
Summer is rapidly approaching. Do your duty and find yourself an internship that will help you on your way to success!
SITES TO HELP INTERNSHIP SEARCH:
From UHEAA: Another great resource for finding internships is your school adviser(s). Set up an appointment today and get one-on-one help finding the best internship for you.
If you have any questions or comments for Cole, please add them using the comment box below and he will gladly reply.