The Value of Internships
March 21, 2016
Today's guest author, Jeff Reep, Director of Career Services, explains how Cedarville University Career Services helps students to think about their career choice as a calling — the opportunity to use their unique God-given talents and abilities to make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ. One key way Jeff and his staff help students is through internships.
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 résumés.
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 résumé, 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 résumés 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 that records all student 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.
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," explained one Cedarville 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 résumé 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 early 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 after completing 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 résumés and into a great job!
Jeff Reep is Director of Career Services at Cedarville University. Jeff has more than 20 years of experience as a basketball coach at the collegiate level and is a Certified Professional Career Coach. For the past 14 years in Career Services, he has built into Cedarville students and advanced Kingdom opportunities for graduates around the world.