Many students apply for internships to help build their resumes and prepare for their careers.
“Having an internship has a tremendous impact on students’ ability to land a job in the field of their choice after graduation,” said Jamie Belinne, the assistant dean of Career Service at the C.T. Bauer College of Business. “There are many companies that use their intern pool as their only source for full-time hires.”
Advisers and career counselors at the University often emphasize to students the importance of gaining work experience through internships before entering the workforce post-graduation. Belinne recommends that students work as many internships as possible throughout college to better build them as a competitive applicant.
A 2016 study from Shawn Barnwell, a Walden University PhD in Public Policy and Administration graduate, has shown that students who had internships in college are more likely to be employed after graduation.
Internships are available to students as early as their freshman year, but some require a certain number of college credit hours to apply.
“The summer before going into junior year is a really good time (to start looking for internships),” said Megan Akogyeram, a career counselor at University Career Services. “But truthfully, it’s never too early.”
UCS is a place for students to learn professional development skills and to help them gain internships.
“Every student has a career counselor that’s specialized in their field,” Akogyeram said.
Cougar Pathway is an online portal through AccessUH that has internships and job postings specifically targeted towards UH students.
Through Cougar Pathway, students are able to specify the types of jobs they want to search for.
“Those are employers that say they want to hire UH students,” Akogyeram said. “So, they post their internships with us.”
Business management sophomore Olivia Hefflinger interned for a district state senator during her campaign from June to September. Among her office duties, Hefflinger managed Excel sheets and helped run campaign polls.
“I got a really good idea of what was included in the world of political science,” Hefflinger said. “Overall, it helped me with advertising in a way, so I knew what people wanted and how to persuade them to vote for you.”
Hefflinger believes she gained valuable knowledge and experience from her internship that will help her find a job more easily after graduation.
“It looks really good on my resume,” Hefflinger said. “I’ve been told by my last employer.”
Internships are not only an opportunity to work in specific fields but also a chance to sample careers before committing to a full-time job.
Students may apply for internships in different industries to help narrow down what they are looking for in future employment.
“You’re finding out if it’s really what you want to do for the rest of your life,” said Sandra Merino, an intern at UCS. “But then you’re also getting something that you can put on your resume that will make you a perfect candidate.”