Bridging College to Career

With employers consistently citing internship experience as being among the top factors influencing hiring decisions, it makes professional, academic and personal sense for your student to participate in multiple internships.

Paid or unpaid, internships are opportunities for your student to gain valuable work experience, career marketable skills and networking contacts. In addition, he/she can acquire benefits and insights that include:

  • Direction in a career search.
  • Increased confidence and independence.
  • Better understanding of the field he/she wants to work in after graduation.
  • Impressive resume credentials.
  • Possible full-time employment.

Finding the right internship takes research, planning, motivation and persistence.  As a parent, you can support your student by suggesting he/she:

  • Start Early
    Depending on the type of internship your student is seeking and its level of competitiveness, he/she can begin by:
    • Visiting Career Services to get assistance with internship search strategies, vita/resume/cover letter writing and interviewing techniques.
    • Meeting with his/her faculty adviser and/or a Career Services adviser to assess personal/professional interests and goal-setting.
    • Researching internship sites using online resources, such as the BW Career Network (a web-based platform designed to provide students with 24/7 access to job and internship postings, employment opportunities and alumni career mentors) and NEOintern.
  • Take Action
    While preparation is the first step, your student can benefit from being proactive. Making contacts, honing interview skills and following up with potential employers are a few of the techniques that can enable him/her to stand out. Career Services offers resources and programs that can help along the way, including a workshop designed for students interested in earning academic credit for their internships.
  • Make a Good Impression
    More than a resume item, an internship is an opportunity for your student to be immersed in a real-world work situation—one that  can yield job offers, mentoring relationships and other positive outcomes. The following tips can help your student make a favorable impression and the most of this learning experience:
    • Discuss personal goals with your supervisor as a way to build a relationship and share your aspirations for the experience.  Likewise, listen carefully as he/she outlines duties and workplace protocol.
    • Understand that being an intern often includes some grunt work.  When this happens, complete it with the same level of enthusiasm and professionalism you would for higher-level assignments.
    • Learn about the organization through attending meetings, conferences and other activities.  Not only can these be great learning experiences, they can foster networking and mentoring opportunities.
    • Take initiative within the context of being aware that there is a balance between being a self-starter and overstepping your place.  Being a team player and having a willingness to help tackle challenging projects can make you favorably stand out.
    • Avoid workplace cliches, gossip and negativity. Not only can these conditions put you in an awkward position, they can lead to misunderstandings and fractured work relationships.
    • Whether it includes material for a portfolio, a resume credential, newly mastered skills/insights, and/or a mentor, make sure your internship yields tangible and intangible results so you feel it was productive.
  • Send Thank-you notes
    At the conclusion of the internship, suggest your student follow up with a supervisor, mentor and others by writing notes to let them know how the internship favorably influenced his/her studies and future plans.
  • Intern to Employee
    Impressively, studies have shown that 57 percent of interns were given full-time job offers. Many employers use intern programs to recruit entry-level college hires.