Is an internship the door to employment?

by Cougar News Contributor 724 views0

Graduating college students across the nation have been facing a tough job market for several years. So what’s the trick to scoring work after graduation? It could be luck or a Harvard diploma, or it could just be a handful of internships that can work like magic.

Internships are now highly sought after, as they could be the deciding factor to employment post graduation. The problem students are now facing is finding an internship that will actually help one’s career path as opposed to becoming an unpaid personal barista.

On campus, students can access school-approved and highly recommended internships.

“The Career Center helps with resumes, provides career assessments, and gives mock interviews,” according to Career Center employee Chris Arias.

The Career Center also offers Cooperative Work Experience Education (CWEE), which is “an online database that facilitates internships,” according to Arias.

Good internships play vital roles at various companies, and knowing what an employer is looking for in an intern helps a student.

“We need help doing things we may not necessarily have time for, but I also like to help a student learn something new by giving them this opportunity,” says Marlene Garcia, account executive at Tyler Barnett Public Relations and an intern coordinator.

Although COC provides students with easier access to internships, it is the student’s responsibility to be prepared for the internship.

“We look for someone who can take direction, pick up on things quickly, multitask well, and someone who really wants to learn,” says Garcia.

According to the Career Center, internships are beneficial because of the great outcomes and opportunities they may provide. Not only do they allow a student to learn about their field of interest, but they also teach them skills that aren’t always learned while in a classroom.

In a recent survey released by The Marketplace and The Chronicle of Higher Education, employers said what matters most to them actually happens outside the classroom.

“Working in a professional setting requires a different level of expectations,” says senior account director at Tyler Barnett PR, Jessica Leiu.

The Career Center on campus provides a great resource for gaining internships, but it is up to the student to make something out of the position.

“By the time my interns are done working here, I want them to be confident in their knowledge,” says Garcia.

More than ever, schools across the country are pushing students of all majors toward internships. CWEE provides students with over 50 internships in fifteen majors and fields.

COC student Erica Vasquez says she interns because it will make her resume more competitive after graduation. Vasquez is a communications major and hopes to start a career in the entertainment field after graduation.

“I want to show my future employer that I have already taken the steps toward the jobs I’ll be applying for,” Vasquez said. “Internships will help me prove this.”

Vasquez works 15 hours a week for her internship at a Los Angeles entertainment firm. A day in the life for Vasquez requires helping senior executives, compiling research and assisting in creative tasks.

Although every internship is different, most internships are unpaid and CWEE guarantees class credit instead. Vasquez hopes her three month internship will turn into an entry-level position after she completes it and graduates from school.

Vasquez is on the right track to employment and the statistics easily prove this. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 63 percent of paid interns in the class of 2012 had at least one job offer when they graduated. Only 40 percent of those who graduated without internship experience had offers.

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