Value of an Internship
February 24, 2012
Article posted by Jeff Reep, Director of Career Services at Cedarville University. Jeff has 22 years of experience as a basketball coach at the collegiate level and is a Certified Professional Career Coach. He has invested the past 15+ years building into Cedarville students and advancing Kingdom opportunities for graduates around the world. At Cedarville, Career Services helps students think about their career choice as a calling -- the opportunity to use unique God-given talents and abilities to make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ.
Here's Jeff's advice ...
In today's job market, a college degree and a strong GPA may not be enough to win a desired job. With the overwhelming number of applications submitted for every job post, candidates have to fight their way to the top of a big stack of resumes.
When it comes to a student's ability to secure employment after graduation, the value of internships and other discipline-related experiences cannot be over-emphasized. (A "discipline-related experience" is a term that includes internships, co-ops, and even volunteer work that directly relates to a field of study.) A strong and competitive candidate will have one or even more of these types of experiences.
Without a discipline-related experience, some companies choose not to even review a resume, and some will hire only candidates who have interned with them. The internship can serve, in a sense, as a three-month interview. If candidates perform well during the internship, the company is confident of their future work performance and fit and will be much more likely to offer a full-time position ... especially compared to others who have yet to prove what their resumes boast.
But, this works both ways! Candidates should use an internship to "interview" the company and see if the working environment, leadership, and management style are a good match for their own interests.
Career Services at Cedarville University
Career Services at Cedarville University is available to assist students in finding these all-important discipline-related experiences. Students can access Jobs4Jackets, a database of jobs specifically posted for Cedarville students. Jobs4Jackets is a great tool for both networking and finding internships.
Career Services also conducts an internship survey every fall which records all the students' internships from the previous year. Current students can then search through an online database to see where previous Cedarville students have worked as interns. Here are just a few from this past summer: Boeing, FBI, Progressive, Goodrich, Mayo Clinic, Rolls-Royce, Focus on the Family, Microsoft, NASA, Honda R&D, SeaWorld, Cleveland Clinic, Rockwell Automation, Otis Elevator, LeaderTreks, and Sam's ... to name a few.
A Student's Perspective
"I think that the experience gained from internships is invaluable and will definitely aid in getting a job upon graduation. An internship gives you one more experience to talk about in an interview. It is also the best time for you to feel out what you want to do with your degree."
(2011 Summer Intern)
When Should Students Start?
Students should visit the Career Services office early and often. One of our main goals is to develop an earlier awareness and sense of urgency in freshmen and sophomores. We want to eliminate the belief that networking and preparing for an internship can be put off until the junior or senior year. Well-trained staff -- certified as career coaches and resume writers -- help students prepare well for the job search process.
How Can Parents Help?
With the many distractions and new responsibilities that students face during their first college years, it may take the occasional "nudge" to get them thinking about internships and career-related preparation. As parents, you could have a very influential role in "reminding" and encouraging your son or daughter to take advantage of the resources available to them in Career Services. We are confident that with the completion of a solid internship experience and significant preparation on the students' part, they can be well on their way to leaping to the top of a stack of resumes and into a great job!
Read more about Cedarville University's exemplary placement rates ...