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September 12, 2013

Internships boost career prospects

By Alberto Paneccasio

This past summer students at Cleveland State University did more than just take a vacation or time off from school. Many of them worked on internships in their chosen fields.

Internships are supervised career-related learning opportunities that offer students the chance to develop hands-on experience in an industry or field.

The data collected by Career Services shows that from summer 2012 to spring 2013 about 2,500 Cleveland State students interned somewhere in the professional industry. Due to large numbers of internships this summer, the staff at Career Services is still analyzing the data.

About 38 percent of students who graduated in 2012 said that they had an internship.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 70 percent of interns are offered jobs by the companies they interned with.

No matter what your degree is, continuing your education in the form of an internship is what helps you land that career job after you finish college.

When you apply and receive an internship, you do get school credit for it.

“Participating in co-op and internships will enable students to enhance their professional work skills and build their employment portfolios,” said Yolanda Burt, director of Career Services. “These early career experiences empower students to be marketable candidates and promote their future careers.”Cleveland State's Department of Career Services is prepared to help students find and apply for internships

Career Services, located in Rhodes Tower, can help you get started in the application process for internships and co-ops. Cleveland State’s Career Services prepares students for these opportunities—early career experience pays, according to Burt.

The students that interned over the summer were from all over Cleveland State, with majors from communication to business to biology. Students were enriched by applying what they learned in the classroom to the workplace.

“Getting an internship as early as possible is important to your success after college,” said Shawn Marshall, a junior finance major with a minor in business administration who interned at Sherwin-Williams. “The experience will show employers that you are determined and motivated. Don’t wait for opportunities. Instead, establish your own.”

Some students who are in fields where there are not internships such as the pure sciences take part in sponsored research during summer, said Professor Barbara K. Modney, associate chair of biology, geology and environmental sciences.

Most students feel that internships are very valuable regardless of financial compensation. Receiving these internships is a great way to gain experience in your career before graduating, demonstrating experience that will attract future employers.

“I had the opportunity to do real work for real customers that was specified, targeted and intentional,” said Scott Ferguson, advertising major and copywriting intern at Wyse Advertising. “Seeing and hearing my real ads out in the wild for the first time was an exhilarating experience.”

If you are thinking about applying for an internship, it is never too late or too early. Even if you apply a semester before you graduate, it still gives you that edge on someone who never applied for one while in college, according to Karen A. Lieske, assistant director at Career Services.

Sometimes applying for your first one can be exciting and makes you feel accomplished that you applied.

“I look forward to the application process,” said Jaclyn Seymour, a junior journalism and film/digital media major. “When the professors here at Cleveland State share their extensive backgrounds, it makes me excited to get into the field.”