Linking college students to careers

A recent poll on CareerLink shows only 42 percent of St. John’s University students have completed an internship. Although it does not guarantee a career, an internship is a building block for finding job opportunities after graduation.

 

The Career Center not only provides internships and jobs, but educates and promotes the idea of internships to students.

 

“It is often misunderstood that the Career Center is a place to go in your fourth year to get a job,” said Joni O’Hagan, the senior associate director of the Career Center.

 

The Career Center encourages freshmen and sophomores to find the right major and career through the individual’s skills and interests. They also help with the preliminary steps for experience prior to applying for an internship such as getting involved in leadership and school organizations, service learning, and volunteering in the community.

 

On CareerLink, the Career Center posts all internships, part-time jobs, full-time jobs and even volunteer opportunities St. John’s University receives from employers.

 

The center also has a partnership with Internships.com, which is a large database with numerous opportunities. Also, with the development of the new “career/internship” tab on St. John’s Central, the Career Center hopes to encourage more students to reach out and apply for internships.

 

Although the new developments are very helpful for finding internship opportunities, not all students utilize them for a successful internship.

 

Claudia Titolo, a junior and communications major, found her internship with theKbuzz at a career fair at St. John’s University.

 

The company is a social media marketing firm that does social media campaigns and works for small businesses as well as larger enterprises like Imax and Verizon.

 

Titolo has been working at theKbuzz since the spring semester of her sophomore year. Although the Career Center was helpful for research and developing her resume, Titolo attributes the job fair and networking to her success.

 

O’Hagan said networking is the best way to find an internship.

 

“Statistics nationally within the job market proves that networking is where internships are found,” said O’Hagan.

 

“If you ask them how they found their job- networking. Year after year, [it] is the number one way.”

 

The Career Center helps to provide networking opportunities through job fairs. However, O’Hagan states that students should also use the Internet and other internship search tools to their advantage.

 

Katie Chin, a freshman majoring in Information Technology with a concentration in graphic design, found her internship on the St. John’s CareerLink site.

 

She sent the company, Chatfe, her resume and was hired on the spot after a phone interview with the company.

 

Not only did Chin find her internship through the Career Center but also attended four workshops and found them very helpful.

 

“You pick up some tips here and there that will help you. For interviewing, I learned it’s okay to ask for a little time.

 

Employers don’t really mind. I always thought you had to answer on the spot,” Chin said.

 

The center has numerous workshops that will help with internships.

 

They have mock interviews and workshops on how to write thank you letters and cover letters. Starting this semester, the center will also offer a shadowing program that will allow students to follow a professional in their interested field.

 

Chin believes that internships are valuable not just as an experience, but to see potential and to assess whether you see yourself doing that work as a career.

 

Although Chin agrees that internships are not vital for career success until junior or senior year, for her, it was not too early.

 

“I know exactly what I want to do. Maybe as a freshman it’s not necessary, but it gives me the process most people practice when they’re juniors, so it gives me a head start,” said Chin.

 

O’Hagan also recommends that students start early when looking for internships.

 

“Connect with your career counselor early. If you’re looking for an internship in the spring, start in the fall, don’t [wait] until December. So, starting early could be broad but also in a narrow perspective.”

 

O’Hagan also offers advice to students to think outside the box and find numerous opportunities that could help develop skills.

 

She encourages students to not be afraid to strive for a more competitive internship and to take some chances.

 

“Don’t be afraid to apply for something. Take the chance, apply, and see what happens,” said O’Hagan.

 

Titolo also agrees that if students want an internship, they must take the initiative and strive for it themselves and not wait for an opportunity to hit them.

 

“Internships are most important for the college experience. Without an internship, you’re not going to get anywhere,” said Titolo.