What do I want to do with my degree?
Where do I want to work?
How do I apply my education and degree into the working world?
Starting your career is a journey that can feel both exciting and overwhelming.
Navigating this process is not something you need to do on your own. We sat down with Emily Huey our Director of Career Development to learn more about the benefits of internships as well as the resources available to students seeking these opportunities.
There are many resources available to you on and off-campus. At Fontbonne, we understand that career development is a lifelong process, and are committed to helping our students achieve their professional goals, even during times of uncertainty. When asked about how to take on this journey Huey said, “It’s important to start networking and searching for internship opportunities early. It is also important to be open-minded – if an opportunity presents itself that isn’t quite what you had in mind – try it anyway! We don’t know what we don’t know – and it could open doors that you had never imagined!”
Internships are a great way to acquire hands-on experience that will prove helpful when job searching. Internships not only provide students an avenue for learning outside the classroom but also help enhance key career-building skills:
- Networking – Networking is an opportunity to build connections with individuals who will be long-term resources to you as you enter the professional world. Whether you are looking to exchange new ideas, solve a problem, or meet individuals within a particular field or company, networking is a great way to foster relationships that will support your professional and personal growth.
Networking doesn’t have to wait until you secure an internship. It can begin as early as your first day as a college student. Emily suggests, “Begin early by building relationships with faculty and staff; they are a great link to industry professionals,” says Emily Huey. Take full advantage of your department and campus events. Many of our alum and partners come to campus and classes to share their expertise. We encourage you to meet these individuals and make a connection. There is truth to ‘it’s who you know, not always what you know.’ One of the amazing things about attending Fontbonne is the exposure to new people, experiences, and ideas – be courageous and get out there because everyone is welcome!
- Communication & Collaboration – Internships offer insight into the various individuals or departments you may interact with on a regular basis. Interacting with different management styles and team members is an intricate piece to discovering what environment is best suited for you. Learning about the various ways to communicate and collaborate with other departments and individuals offers insight into how your role supports the organization’s goals. From email etiquette to professional conversation to meetings, internships offer an experience that will prepare you for your career.
- Self-Discovery – Interacting in a professional environment similar to the one you hope to enter post-graduation can be very insightful. Your internship’s hand-on experience will not only sharpen existing skills, but also helps you to acquire new ones. You may discover skills that you want to improve upon or uncover a passion for specific niches within your field.
- Professional Presence & Confidence – Whether it is expectations for dress, conduct, and more specific to your field, internships allow you to experience workplace etiquette firsthand. Hands-on training provided with an internship will build professionalism and confidence as you transition from college student to the professional world.
Now that we’ve established the value of completing an internship prior to graduation, you might be asking… What do I need to do first?
If you haven’t already created your Handshake Profile, LinkedIn profile, and resume, those are the first steps toward building your professional rapport! Need guidance and support on best practices and information to include? Career Development is available to students for this and additional support including:
- Major / Career Exploration
- Resume / Cover letter Development
- Interview Best Practices
- Networking Skills & Opportunities
- Soft Skill Development and more!
Whether you have questions or need support in the above areas, or a ready to start looking for opportunities, we are here to support your journey ahead.