As a career counselor, I’ve seen many resumes needing critiques and a very common objective mistake is writing it in the job seeker’s perspective instead of towards the employer. Everyone understands that an internship will help you gain experience, but what the company wants to know is what specific goal you have that matches their mission. So this begs the question as to who really benefits from an internship. Does the company, or the intern, or what about the college/university?
You’ve been told time after time about the benefits of an internship to the intern. The student gains experience and networking opportunities on the job. Internships help to pad the resumé and make students more competitive when looking for full-time jobs. The student also learns more about themselves as a responsible worker and can clarify their professional goals after gaining experience through internships. So let’s look at the other partners in this triad relationship: the employer (who offers the position) and the university (who coordinates with the employer and informs students of opportunities).
Internship Benefits to Employers:
- Companies can train potential future employees
- Interns provide new energy to the office
- Interns provide new ideas and technology into the office
- Interns can do the work that the full-time staff haven’t had time to accomplish or even start
- Interns can help evaluate current company practices and offer suggestions of alternate options
Internship Benefits to Universities:
- We get to help students!! Our favorite thing!
- Helping students gain experience and eventually full-time jobs will then increase alumni relations throughout the community and beyond
- Career services and academic departments also connect with the internship employers, and then can offer these similar opportunities to future students
- Universities build and expand connections throughout the community which increases their reputation
- Internships are one way a university demonstrates productivity, which in turn keeps us working for students
Why it’s imperative that students report all internships to their University:
- Having a structured academic process can validate the experience
- It’s part of Career Services’ job description to work with, and connect employers and students
- Career Services is a natural connector between student needs and employer expectations
- Internship Coordinators can help with negotiations that may arise
- Internship Coordinators ensure the internship job duties are related to the students’ major/goals
When it’s all said and done we know that internships are important and expected to be seen on resumes by employers. There are a few options for students when searching for internships. The students could utilize their academic department or career services to help them locate these internships, or they could create their own internship experience. Unless the major requires an internship experience, the student doesn’t even have to take the internship for academic credit. Regardless of the need for academic credit, I still recommend all interns inform either their academic advisor or a representative from career services. The student will in turn have someone to assist them with any questions or problems that could arise during the experience.
Karen is a Career Counselor and Internship Coordinator at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). At IPFW she assists students in finding internships, coordinates and assists with campus-wide events, teaches a Career Planning course, and meets with students individually to assist them with all aspects of career development. Connect with Karen via LinkedIn or Twitter.