Students urged to obtain internships

As summer approaches, some students search for vacation spots while others scramble for internships.

Luckily, those looking to gain experience have help. “My office is open for students who are looking for internships that may eventually turn into full employment jobs. I am always available to do one on one sessions,” said Dewain Lee, Director of Career Services and Educational Enhancement Options.

Lee’s office is located on the second floor of Dent. She hosts a number of workshops pertaining to resume writing, and career development. If a student is unable to attend the workshops, he or she can obtain the information from her office.

Many students apply for internships too late. In most cases, companies have a limit on

how many students they are willing to take in their program and some career fields are more competitive than others. However, According to the Hegi Family Career

Development Center, which deals with extensive research programs on career development, as many as half of advertised internships are left unfilled each summer. The biggest reason for this is because some companies have last-minute openings in April or May, when many students already have internships or do not think that there are any “good” ones left. For these reasons, some students choose to participate in internships while they are still in school.

“I am currently interning at the Children’s Hospital and doing a research program. I feel that these two internships will be beneficial in helping me succeed in life, but I do not feel that I will use it in my future endeavors,” said Lawrance D. Mullen Jr., junior biology major from Mobile, Ala.

Because college education is oftentimes not enough, Dillard’s Career Services and Educational Enhancement department encourages students to gain experience.

However, students often expect wages to accompany that experience. According to the Hegi Family Career Development Center, many students frown upon unpaid internships. Although these internships do not offer compensation, it is still a great experience. Graduate schools and companies feel that students that participate in internships are more well rounded than those who don not. If students can take what they learn in school and apply those skills in the work place, they are considered to be more of an asset than someone who only has classroom skills. The Development Center shows that a company is more likely to hire a student with a C+ or B- average and a great recommendation from their past employers than a student with an A+ average and no experience.

“There are companies that come to us looking for students to work for them but other times I go out and look for them. However, most students get their internships from the career and job fairs that we host,” Lee said.

Despite these job fairs, finding an internship in certain fields can prove extremely difficult. Research done at Southern Methodist University shows that Computer Science, Communication, and jobs with the government are the most competitive fields when it comes to internships. This is mainly because there are too many applicants and not enough openings. Another reason is that many students aim for the big and more common internships. This leaves all the unpaid or less advertised internships unfilled. As a result, those companies sometimes choose to erase their internship program altogether the following year.

Cassidy Barnette, a freshmen nursing major from Fairfield, Calif, said “I had planned on having an internship, but I am going to take nursing classes in summer school. However, I still feel that an internship is a great experience to work in the field you want so that you can make sure that that is what you want to do.”

The Career Services and Educational Enhancement department is open for everyone. Whether or not a company comes back to Dillard to recruit, depends on how well a student performs on that job. Some students like Barnette have no idea who is over

Career Services. On the other hand, Mullen found out about his internships through teachers. The Career Services and Educational Enhancement Department is a great source, but the greatest source is oneself. Dr. Lee encourages students to do their own research on internships. There are a lot of opportunities out there. Students must utilize their resources.

The Career Services and Educational Enhancement Department, as well as, Alumni Affairs, keeps contact with the Dillard graduates, so if there are any job openings at their place of employment, they can advertise it to Dillard students. It is never too late to get an internship. Even if a student is not able to find a paid or unpaid internship program, he or she may be able to find someone that will let him or her shadow that person on his or her job. Any bit of experience helps.

“My best advice to students is to be proactive and do not wait until the last minute to find an internship or employment. They should have a competitive resume prepared at all times,” Lee said.