Whenever I hear someone talk about internships, I can’t help but think of my own story. While a student at UCF, I interned at the same company, in their HR department, for three consecutive summers. I learned so much during those summers – the real-world application of the theories learned in my college courses, how the business world works and how to be professional. Yes, gaining this experience meant giving up my summers to work full-time, but as I look back now, I can confidently say it was worth it.
During my last semester at UCF, I was feverishly looking for a full-time position. I was graduating in May, and it was March by this time, so I was feeling the pressure. Then I got the call from the company I interned with – a full-time position had become available in their HR department, and they wanted me to take it! I was trying my best to keep composed on the phone, but I really wanted scream, “Yes, yes, yes!… Absolutely!…When do I start?!”, but I managed to pull myself together and say a very calm and collected, “That sounds like a wonderful opportunity, and I’m really interested.”
My summer internship blossomed into seven fabulous years with the company, including two promotions and many opportunities for professional growth. I can’t imagine ever landing my first full-time job without the internship that got my foot in the door.
Needless to say, I am a huge proponent of internships, not just because of my own positive experience but because internships have a lot to offer, even if they don’t translate into credit hours on your college transcript. Here are the top three reasons why every college student should do at least one internship – I call these the 3 E’s:
- Education – internships give you the opportunity to learn about your area of study and potential career path. You can see how the things you learn in class are put into practice in the real world. You can also discover what you like and dislike, while evaluating whether a job and/or company are the right match for you.
- Exposure – get a prospective future employer to know you BEFORE you graduate; this is key to landing a job. Whether you get a full-time offer from your internship company or not, an internship offers you the chance to meet business professionals and make a positive impression, both in the way you carry yourself and the quality of your work. Think of your internship as a very long interview, and keep in mind that your boss/superiors can recommend you to their contacts at other companies if a position is not available within their organization.
- Experience – build your resume with directly related work experience. The chances of you landing a job in your field of study are much higher when an employer sees that you have related internship experience under your belt.
While many of UCF’s College of Business Administration majors allow for internships to count toward degree program credit requirements, getting credit isn’t the main purpose or biggest advantage of doing an internship. The 3 E’s are by far the biggest takeaways of the internship experience.
Do you have questions about internships? If so, stop by the College of Business’ Office of Professional Development (BA2-101) or Experiential Learning (BA1-130) to get started today!
Career Coach – Finance & Real Estate