I supervise undergraduate interns in Career Services, and it’s one of the best parts of my job. My undergraduate interns serve as Peer Advisors; they are trained to critique resumes and cover letters for other undergraduate students. Through the course of the internship, they literally critique hundreds of resumes, and this experience is incredibly valuable when they sit down to write their own resumes. My peer advisors also assist with programs such as dorm workshops and career fairs.
I’ve also managed graduate student interns and work study students. This year, I am assisting one of my colleagues as she conducts interviews for yet another undergraduate internship in our office. This intern will be responsible for providing student voice on the career services blog and facebook page.
Working in career services at your university is a no-brainer, whether as a volunteer, intern, or paid/work study student. I don’t mean that the work is easy; I mean that it’s an incredible opportunity to develop practical skills and enhance career knowledge.
Benefits of working in career services
- Whether your job is to critique resumes, set up employer information sessions, or work at the reception desk, you will surely be trained. In training, you will learn about the mission statement and philosophy of your college career center, as well as the roles of the professionals employed there. This insider perspective has lots of advantages. When you are required to learn about the services that the center offers, as well as the premises of career development, you will be on your way to achieving personal responsibility for your career.
- You’ll interact with career advisers, who can’t help but take you under their wing and offer career advice. They enjoy learning about you, what you are studying, and what your plans are, because they may see you more frequently than the students they are meeting in counseling appointments. Furthermore, if you are working on a project for a counselor, then you’ll probably reep some mentoring in the process. It’s no secret that once you work in career services, you’ll probably figure out which counselor is a good match for you in terms of personality and approach, and you have dibs on counseling appointment time!
- If you are responsible for helping with events, such as career and internship fairs and employer information sessions, then you will have access to employers before the rest of the student population. I’ve always encouraged my peer advisors and student assistants to introduce themselves to employers as they are helping to set up for the annual career fair. I remind them to wear their nametag, and I review with them an especially effective way to make an introduction.
- I’m often asked to write letters of recommendation and act as a reference for students who have worked for me. And in the majority of cases, I am delighted to discuss my former interns with their prospective employers. I take advantage of that moment when they ask me to be a reference – it’s a moment when I teach them how to ask former and current supervisors, as well as faculty to be references. I ask them what they want me to say, “What are the strengths and skills you would like me to discuss?”
- You may be the first to see some of the great job and internship descriptions received in the office. In fact, you may be the student responsible for entering this data into the web-based job/internship database for students.
- You can probably get away with telling your supervisor what skills you’d like to develop and new areas that you would like to explore. After all, we are all for career development in career services, especially for our student staff. You might not get this flexibility in other campus jobs.
- And unlike other campus departments, many career services offices are cutting edge. We are using social media, creativity in our print and online educational materials, nontraditional methods for public relations and event planning, and lots of other cool ways that will keep you interested and informed while working your campus job.
- Finally, did I mention the food!? There’s always food in our office, and our student workers and interns never go hungry.
Nicole Anderson is an Assistant Director/Career Counselor for Tufts University Career Services. With fourteen years of experience in college career services, Nicole’s expertise includes career counseling undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni from liberal arts, science, engineering, business, and education.