College graduates are struggling more each year to find work in their chosen career path after graduation due to drastic changes in the economy and the job market in the past few years.
An internship is an opportunity for a college student or recent graduate to partake in observed and practical training in the field of their choice.
“I’d do an internship. It connects your knowledge as you’re learning with the company to the actual, applied job setting,” Pierce College student Yannik Ilgert said.
Internships provide a way for a college student to gain work experience in the field that they are pursuing. Whether it be at a corporate office, in a company factory or a small town business, internships can give college students an edge in the work force.
Lauren Berger, the self-proclaimed ‘Intern Queen’ and author of All Work, No Pay: Finding An Internship, Building Your Resume, Making Connections, and Gaining Job Experience, has dedicated her career to helping college students and graduates connect with their ideal internship.
Her book contains advice for students and graduates on finding their dream internship.
“No matter what the common perception of internships might be, they are, inarguably, the most valuable experience for today’s college student,” Berger said. “In 2010, students with internships on their resume received a greater number of job offers than students without internships.”
Berger goes on to state that internships are one of the only proven ways to better prepare a student for their future careers.
“Learning and educating yourself through real-world experience will help you reach your goals,” Berger said.
There are many ways to make contact with companies about their internship opportunities. Visiting the company’s website will usually provide details with what programs they offer.
Google, Starbucks Inc., The New York Times are just a few companies of the multitude that offer internships.
Joshua Potter, the Pierce College Puyallup communications and drama assistant professor, completed two internships before starting his career at Pierce College
“When I was an undergraduate, I did an internship with my IT department. We looked at their website and how useful it was for the college,” Potter said. “We did a whole study for them and how it could improve.”
As a graduate student at Ithaca College in New York, Potter completed a second internship under his adviser at the school. Potter helped submit grants and develop scripts for his adviser.
Potter credits these internships to helping him discover what career path he wanted to choose.
“(The internships) helped me become a self-starter and gain initiative,” Potter said. “You have you your own sense of drive. That got developed through internship and that sort of work.”
Potter’s advice to students is to make the most of the internship.
“Be a sponge. Just soak all up all you can in those sort of environments,” Potter said. “If you pay attention, that’s where you get a lot of that experience, and that’s where the initiative comes in.”
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