Gain valuable experience through internships and volunteering
As the Director of Career Services at Rockford College, I strive to help students gain valuable experience to build their resumes, develop their skills, and enlarge their network of professionals in their field of study. With the job market being so competitive, it is essential for graduates to set themselves apart from other job seekers by doing each of these three things.
Two of the best ways to achieve these results entail completing an internship and volunteering. Many employers also utilize their internship and volunteer programs as feeders for their full-time positions. In fact, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2010 Internship & Co-op Survey, participating organizations reported that 44.6% of their class of 2009 hires came from their own internship programs. I often tell students that internships and even volunteering should be looked at as long-term interviews, so it is imperative to treat the experiences as such by being punctual and professional, showing initiative, mastering tasks of the position, and building relationships. Even if an internship does not lead to a full-time position within the company a student interns at, the student will gain valuable experience and build his/her network of professionals that will further assist him/her in finding a full-time position.
Here at Rockford College, we assist students and alumni by providing them such opportunities. Coming up on Friday, March 16, we are hosting our annual Career and Internship Fair from 1 to 4 pm in Regents Hall (2nd floor of the Burpee building on the Rockford College campus, 5050 East State Street). This event provides our students, alumni, and community members the chance to network with local employers and learn about internship and career opportunities. There is no cost to attend this event, and we encourage attendees to dress professionally and bring copies of their resumes. For additional information about this event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. or visit the website to see a list of participating organizations.
For those that are not able to attend our career and internship fair, it’s important to talk to friends, family, business acquaintances, professors, or the career center from your current or past college or university to tell them what it is that you are seeking in a volunteer or internship experience, and then ask if they are aware of any opportunities. Stay active and diligent in your search and remain open to pursuing an internship or volunteer opportunity.
Kelly Cooper, Director of Career Services