As the job market is becoming increasingly competitive, many community college students are taking advantage of internship opportunities before they receive their diplomas. Internships can provide students with a variety of benefits, many of which often help push a prospective job candidate’s resume to the top of the application stack.
Benefits of Internships
Learning More about Your Major
One of the foremost benefits of a community college internship is the experience allows students to receive hands-on interaction with work in their field of study. Added to this, for students who are unsure of their major, or uncertain of what their major may lead to career wise, they can utilize internships to ensure that they are on the correct path of study.
According to college advisors, the average student changes majors three times before finalizing their course of study. According to Dr. Fritz Grupe of My Majors, approximately 80% of high school students begin college without knowing what major they want to study.
By working with different internships, you can hone your professional interest and find the appropriate major for you.
Build Your Resume
As a great number of candidates may be applying for a single position, community college interns are able to build up their resume with significant work experiences. In today’s competitive work environment, your resume is what sets you apart from other candidates.
If you have a wealth of professional internships, this gives you a competitive edge against new graduates who may have only focused on their academic work. In addition, you also garner professional references, which can play a large role in helping you receive job offers and great career opportunities
By building up one’s resume with reputable experiences and job-related details, community college candidates are offering potential employers insight and information about their ability to work successfully on tasks related to one’s course of study and career trajectory.
Establishing and Fostering Career Connections
While experience and a strong resume certainly help candidates excel in interviews and with job applications, one of the greatest benefits of an internship is the prospect of establishing a professional network in one’s future career and course of study.
By working with fellow professionals in one’s career field, a student intern can enjoy first-hand knowledge regarding potential job openings, often before the openings are formally announced online or to the public. This allows interns to submit their application early, or even schedule an interview prior to other candidates’ ability to submit an application.
Also, a student’s internship employers may have connections with collaborating companies or employers; by demonstrating one’s effective work ethic and knowledge during an internship, the report of one’s potential may be passed along to a wider venue of potential managers and work places. In today’s economy, this factor alone may be what helps you find a recession-proof career
How Do I Find an Internship?
The steps to finding an internship may vary depending upon one’s course of study and one’s location. Students interested in internships can generally find out more information at their campus’ students services center; or students can meet with their professors
and instructors for added advice and support.
Valencia Community College, located in Orlando, is one of the many community colleges that provide students with a variety of internship-related resources for support. As Valencia describes, their Internship Program can “help you get the work-based learning experience you need to be competitive in the workforce.”
The Internship Program allows students to network with leading employers in the community, become an observer and hands-on worker, and also gives a competitive edge in the workforce. Students interested in Valencia’s Internship Program must meet specific requirements; students must maintain a 2.0 GPA, and must complete any necessary prerequisites prior to beginning intern-related work.
United States Department of Energy, Community College Institute
For another avenue providing students with the competitive internship experiences, the US Department of Energy’s Community College Institute provides a select number of community college students to participate in paid internships in Science and Engineering
Technology. The locations of the internships may vary, as students are able to “work with scientists or engineers on projects related to the laboratories' research programs,” and are also able to “attend career planning and numerous training/informational sessions.” The Community College Institute internships are highly competitive, so candidates must meet a variety of application requirements, in addition to upholding specific internship expectations and regulations.
Working with your community college’s career center, looking through classified advertisements, or speaking with your professor can help you find the perfect internships that will open career doors for you after graduation.