Friday, December 12, 2014

The Benefits of Internships

As a counselor, I have met with numerous recent college graduates who are seeking their first professional job after finishing school. A common problem many students encounter is a lack of related work experience. This is especially an issue when most job postings list “experience required” as one of the qualifications.

You think to yourself, “how am I supposed to get experience if I can’t get a job?” My best recommendation is to get an internship. It is the perfect way to get experience in your field and to apply what you’ve been learning in the classroom. Some academic programs require an internship as part of the curriculum but if your program doesn’t require it, you need to take the initiative.

Internships can come in all different “shapes and sizes”. They can be full time, part time, for credit or non-credit, paid or unpaid but the goal is the same: gaining experience.

This is an opportunity to gain experience you can’t get in the classroom. An internship should have parameters in place on what you will learn on the job and what the employer’s expectations are for your contributions. The length of your internship should also be agreed upon before starting.

If you are still trying to decide on your future career path, working as an intern is an excellent way to explore a career you’ve been considering. What better way is there to truly see what a future job would be like than to actually “test the waters?” The earlier you do this in your college career the better. You want to give yourself time to change your major if you decide this career is not a good fit.

Finding an internship is just like the job search process. It takes an excellent resume, solid interviewing skills and networking. If you need help with these skills, Rio Salado offers Creative Job Hunting (CPD 102AC) as a two-credit course. The Counseling department is also available by appointment to discuss your career goals and to offer guidance on how to find an internship.

Finding a job is always a competitive process but with internship experience on your resume you are a step ahead of your competition! Or even better, your internship ends with a job offer!

Now you can earn college credits toward Rio Salado’s many Business and Public Administration programs through our new Internship Program.

To learn more, including
application guidelines, visit

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Kamela Craig on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services.