Internships & Career Readiness

Internships play a vital role in one's professional development as they provide opportunities related to your academic interest and desired profession. Students who choose not to complete an internship while in college are often at a disadvantage when they pursue jobs after graduation because they have little work experience directly linked to their education or the career being pursued. Having relevant work experience enhances the degree and makes students more desirable candidates.

WHAT IS AN INTERNSHIP?

An internship is typically a short-term, one-time work experience related to your academic major or career field. You work in a professional setting under the supervision of a practicing professional or a member of that individual’s staff.

Internships can be paid or unpaid. Be sure you know whether you will receive compensation for your work before you accept the internship offer. If you receive financial aid, check with the Financial Aid office to determine how internship earnings may affect your financial aid award.

IMPORTANCE OF INTERNSHIPS

An internship can help you decide whether the career path you chose is actually something you enjoy and something that challenges you.  An internship gives you an opportunity to get real-world work experience. One of the most important advantages of an internship is the networking opportunities it gives you.  When your work at an internship is done well, you may leave with both professional references and enhanced marketable skills. Internships allow employers to determine how you fit their needs. It is not unusual for interns to afterwards receive offers for part-time work while in school or a full-time job.

Having one or more internships shown on your résumé gives you an advantage over competitors who have no experience. If your academic program does not require an internship, consider pursuing this kind of work opportunity anyway.

FINDING AN INTERNSHIP

Start the process of looking for an internship in your second year and start getting your application materials created and reviewed by the CCLD. Look for internships that will benefit you in the long run; that is, don’t choose one unrelated to your major or future career goals.

Approach an internship much like you will pursue a full-time career position. Conduct research on the company or agency that interests you to develop a targeted résumé and cover letter. Ask about work opportunities and let the employer know how your skills and abilities match their needs. Consider your personal network – your friends, your relatives, classmates, former teachers or professors, academic advisors, etc., and then let those contacts know you are pursuing an internship.

WHERE CAN I FIND INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES?

The MGA Center for Career and Leadership Development posts work opportunities, including internships, on Handshake, the university’s online job board specifically for current MGA students and MGA alums. Go to mga.joinhandshake.com often to see current postings.

We also encourage you to make an appointment with someone in the CCLD to get help looking for internships and identifying potential companies with internship opportunities. 

Lastly, make sure to attend all MGA Career Fairs hosted by the CCLD, as many internships are typically offered at these events. You can see all of our upcoming fairs on Handshake, as well as Presence. 

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR OPPORTUNITY

Treat your internship like a real job because it is just that.

DO:
• Work hard, do what is asked of you, ask relevant questions, be willing to go the extra mile.
• Handle each task with professionalism and efficiency. This is a unique opportunity to show this employer and your co-workers you are reliable, enthusiastic, and competent.
• Be positive and remain eager to learn. Stay busy and productive.
• Be on your best behavior and show you are a team player.
• Seek out extra work, new projects, and ways to make the jobs of your co-workers easier.
• Keep up with your coursework and manage your personal life carefully. Be careful about what you post on social media sites.
• Ask about part-time or full-time work available to you when you complete the internship.
• Follow up after the internship with a sincere thank you note/email to your supervisor and anyone who was particularly helpful.

DO NOT:
• Be late.
• Dress too casually. Ask what your employer expects.
• Leave your assignments undone.
• Wait for your supervisor to figure out when you need a new task.
• Overstep your authority.
• Use the telephone or the Internet for personal use. This goes for your cell phone, too.
• Seem uninterested in the profession.
• Be intimidated.
• Assume your degree and your GPA alone make you qualified for a position at the company/agency.

 
Contact the MGA Center for Career and Leadership Development for additional information about internship opportunities as well as assistance preparing your résumé and cover letter. To schedule an appointment to get help with you resume, cover letter, or looking for internships, go to mga.joinhandshake.com/appointments.