Story by Elysia Yuen
With spring 2012 graduation around the corner, University of Utah students will be preparing to professionally compete in the job market.
However, students have an advantage in the workforce. Jim White, Assistant Director for Career Services at the University of Utah, said, “Students with internship experience tend to be the first ones hired after they graduate.”
Completing an internship in undergraduate studies will set applicants apart as a student and give them a head start in the professional arena.
“[Internships] allow you to find the answers by yourself and incorporate a lot of teamwork,” said Jessica Woeppel, a current University of Utah student.
The Career Services website describes an internship as “an experience that relates to your major and/or planned career goal, is a responsible position with professional supervision, and provides university-level learning experience.”
John Rith, a former University of Utah student said, “The opportunity to do [internships] and learn in person rather than in a book is a method of learning that cannot be taught inside the classroom.”
Internships are valuable for several reasons explained White from Career Services. They include help in a career-making decision, giving students real-word and first-hand experience, obtaining job-specific skills and competencies that are not obtained in the classroom, material for student resumes, field-related networking opportunities and opportunities for hire.
In an internship and co-op survey released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers in 2011, 58 percent of interns accepted a position at the organization that were eligible for full-time positions. This year is the highest acceptance since 2007.
Although internships are valuable for undergraduate students, the obstacle is obtaining one.
There are several resources available by the university to support students in their professional goals and aspirations.
“[Career Services] give people looking to make a big decision in their life a sense of direction and wisdom from people who have made their own decisions and are happy with their careers,” said Rith.
Resources available include online information about finding and preparing for internships and a career. Services also include career fairs, links to hiring websites and workshops for interviewing, resumes and cover letters. The center is available for alumni and current students.
Melissa Kraft from the career services office advises students to ensure a fulfilling experience.
“My best recommendation is to be sure to connect with your Career Services counselor early in your schooling to ensure you are hearing about all the great internship opportunities,” said Kraft.
Woeppel has used the services and also recommended them to her friends to help build their resumes.
“I like their ‘use the active verbs’ list,” said Woeppel.
The services offered by the University of Utah are intended to help and supplement students in their academic experience outside the classroom.
Kathy Leslie, a career counselor, said, “Career counselors here at Career Services will help act as a ‘tour guide’ to help students decide when the best time for them to seek internships would be.”
“My Philosophy is the student with the most internships win,” said White.
More information about Career Services and the resources available can be found on their website. < http://careers.utah.edu>
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Story by Elysia Yuen