Interning. It’s a lot more than fetching coffee and making copies. Watch these students make their passion part of their degree program at Westfield State. There are over 300 area businesses, schools and organizations that have at least one Westfield State student on the part-time staff. This means there are over 300 Westfield students learning invaluable on-the-job training every year. Read on below to find out how you can be one of them and get the most out of your college experience.
First thing’s first: How do you find an internship that fits your major? Choose the right college. If you’re unsure of where to look or how to get in contact with local employers, try visiting the Career Center. The Career Center offers an online database featuring full-time, part-time, internships, and community service opportunities for all students. There are also counselors that can help prepare your resume and cover letter before you start the search. Don’t forget to speak with your academic advisor or department chair to find out if you can receive credit towards your degree program.
Learn more how the Career Center can you help connect you with the right internship program.
For students who aren’t sure what type of internship program they want, its best to find something that interests them. Look for unique opportunities that you wouldn’t necessarily find within a classroom or lab; interning is a great way to focus on the ancillary skills you need to succeed within your career but can’t learn from a professor. For example: Environmental Science majors should check out business and landowner outreach positions within a park & recreation agency. This way, you gain interpersonal skills training while expanding upon the knowledge you’ve already acquired in class.
Once you have an internship locked in, what’s next? Well, that part is up to you. According to Environmental Science Department Chair John McDonald, the most successful student interns are the ones who have a game plan. “Come in with an idea of what you want to learn,” he advises. “State your goal upfront to your employer and then develop a plan to get you there.”
That goal can be anything from building up your professional network to contributing to an award-winning research project. The important thing is to establish what both you and your employer want out of the internship and how you can reach those goals, together. This will not only provide you with some guidance and structure while interning, but can also demonstrate your dedication to an employer. Your boss is looking for someone who takes themselves and their position seriously. Don’t be afraid to be open about what you want to learn and how you want to grow.
Interning is an essential part of the Westfield State experience. It gives students the chance to step outside of the classroom and apply what they’ve learned to real world experiences. You’ll not only grow as a student, but also potentially set yourself up for a successful career after graduation.