It’s one of the top questions on any college student’s mind: What am I going to do after I graduate? Before you start to panic or hit the fast forward button, take some time to think about what you can do now while you are still in college.
One of the most important things you can do for your professional career development is to participate in an internship. Internships are something that employers almost expect to see on your resume when you’re looking for that first job out of college.
Some majors at Maryville, including Communication and Art & Design, require an internship credit to graduate. Many would say this is a positive requirement because it helps students gain knowledge and job-related experience that they can connect with their coursework.
“Internships in college have been linked to positive outcomes such as greater confidence in career decision-making, the acquisition of new job relevant skills, a reduction in the reality shock of full-time employment, improved ability to secure a job and higher job satisfaction,” states the Maryville Communication Internship website.
To help prepare for an internship, it is recommended that students take COM 223: Professional and Organizational Communication. This course helps students from any major prepare for their chosen careers by encouraging them to network with professionals in their field as well as develop a professional portfolio for interviews.
One of the course requirements is to conduct an informational interview with a professional. This assignment encourages networking in the “hidden job market,” where so many job opportunities are found.
“Ten percent of resumes get an interview while 80 percent of informational interviews get a job or internship interview,” said Dr. Leilani Carver, assistant professor of communication.
You might be wondering where to look for internship opportunities. There are several resources on campus that can help you find an internship. These include the Maryville Career Education Career Connections website, the Communication Internship blog, the Graphic Design internship blog and your professors. Your professors are some of the most networked professionals in their career field and are a great resource to find internship and job opportunities.
No one can know for sure exactly what they want to do right after high school. You may find that after participating in an internship in your current major, you do not feel you would be successful in that field. The earlier you network with professionals and participate in internships, the better chance you have of finding out what the career really entails. Then you can change your major if needed before it’s too late.
The best advice is to start looking for internships and jobs now. Look at the options and see what the requirements are. Build yourself up to these requirements and do not overlook anything. Talk with your professors and network with professionals in your major. Build your resume with experience like writing for the school newspaper or taking a student government or activities position. The more experience you can offer an organization, the better chance you have of gaining an interview.