The benefits of completing an internship

by Nicole Belair, Staff Writer
As a college student, the last thing that you probably want is more work to do. But, when you graduate there is one item on your résumé that employers are especially looking for. Many businesses will even require it: an internship. No matter how high your GPA or how well-written your cover letter is, some employers will simply throw away the résumés that don’t list an internship on them. A résumé that shows internship experience may set you apart from other candidates applying for the same job. This demonstrates that you have real world experience in your field, and you’ve put what you’ve learned in school to the test. There are so many internship opportunities out there that it’s hard to know where to start. I spoke with Amelia Scott, the Director of Experiential Learning and Internship Development at UMass Dartmouth, to gain some insight on how students can find internship opportunities. Scott was able to recommend helpful online search engines provided within the UMassD Portal. In the UMassD Portal, there are a series of links that can assist you in your search. In the “Careers and Jobs” menu, there is an entire category dedicated to career planning and job search tools. If you follow that link, you will find the “CareerLink” database, which is one of the most valuable search engines when it comes to jobs and internships. CareerLink provides students with easy access to career services. It is also a database through which students can build and post résumés and search for potential jobs and internships. Once you launch CareerLink, you can search for internships using a variety of filters. You can enter your major, the industry you would like to work for, your desired internship location, and more. Scott also explained that there are also several internship programs that are run through the UMass Dartmouth departments such as Political Science, Crime and Justice Studies, and Business. The catch with internships is that they are not always paid. While the prospect of spending your time on an unpaid internship might seem like a waste of your time, it helps to think about the bigger picture. With an internship on your résumé, whether paid or unpaid, you will most likely land a full-time job after graduation sooner than someone without internship experience. Completing an internship can also help you get your foot in the door with potential employers. In many cases, students have been offered full-time positions at the companies where they have interned. It’s also helpful to test drive a career, and find out if it will be the right fit for you. Before my internship with a nonprofit organization, I was only studying Professional Writing at school. Following my internship, however, I learned that I wanted to broaden my major and study both English and Communications so that I could eventually go into the business field. Without that internship, I might not have realized this until it was too late. Internships can also give students the chance to network and build professional relationships. People within your professional network can serve as references for you as you apply for jobs. They may even be able to connect you to potential employers. With these benefits in mind, completing an internship certainly pays off. Luckily, there are plenty of resources on campus and online to help you find an internship that suits you. Whether you are searching for an internship at the school or out in the community, you can always stop by the Career Development Center for additional assistance. You can find the Career Development Center on the ground floor of the Campus Center, on the right next to the lower-level exit.
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