As a College of Liberal Arts (CLA) student you’ll learn to think critically, solve problems and communicate effectively. These core skills are critical in virtually any job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But getting hired after graduation often requires more than just skills. Employers want someone with relevant experience. That’s where internships come in. Discover why you should get an internship, find out how and when to do so and how to fit one in once you’re a student. View what past students have said about their enriching internships!
Why Should You Get an Internship(s)?
College graduates with multiple internships are more likely to get a higher-paying job and to get hired sooner after graduation, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers . Hiring managers won’t typically ask for your GPA during an interview, but they will always ask about your work experience. This is where your internship comes in. You’ll pull from your internship experiences when responding to important interview questions. The internship experience you articulate in an interview can be a selling point for hiring managers as they make final decisions.
Build a Network
The network you create at an internship can connect you to job opportunities. Sometimes you get hired by your internship site. More often, you get a chance to network with professionals who may provide you with valuable job market insights. The odds are in your favor when you have a network of professionals looking out for you.
A big benefit to being a liberal arts major is that you’re able to be flexible in the work environment. Employers are looking to hire well-rounded and adaptable professionals who will meet the needs of an ever-changing work culture. In fact, the Institute for the Future predicts 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. CLA students are known to be intellectually sharp and culturally nimble.
In disciplines as broad as business to environmental research, our students demonstrate these skills on a consistent basis. For instance, Psychology major Amma-Sika Adomako recently put those skills to work in an Amazon human resources internship:
“My experience interning in human resources with Amazon was nothing short of amazing. At first I was very nervous. I was not sure whether I would be up to par since I came from a liberal arts background. It was only after I began working that I realized I had all the skills to be successful in not only this environment but any work environment.”
Find Your Passion
As evidenced through Amma’s and so many other CLA students’ experiences, you can successfully intern anywhere you’d like. You don’t have to stay within one career lane. You can merge into a new lane anytime you choose and test this road out through an internship. You may not know if a particular career field is a fit for you until you experience it as an intern.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll surprise yourself and end up where you least expected. That’s OK! Enjoy the journey, challenge yourself and remember that CLA Professional Development is here to support you.
How and When Should You Secure an Internship?
You should begin thinking about experiential learning from the moment you set foot on campus. Your first step is to attend an internship information session led by the CLA Professional Development team and/or schedule an appointment directly with a member of the team . You’ll learn how to effectively search for an internship using resources like Handshake and by leveraging networking opportunities.
You can also have your application materials reviewed and potentially be directly connected to partner employers. Don’t worry if you’ve never written a resume or cover letter before. You can pick up a template and be guided through the whole process. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro!
How Will You Have Time for an Internship?
CLA students are eligible to complete up to 12 academic credits through internships. If you end up with many responsibilities and a tight schedule as a student, you can substitute an internship for an elective! Many students lighten their academic course load by adding up to 12 credits’ worth of internships in place of additional academic coursework. Students are able to register for an internship course through their department’s internship coordinator and the CLA Professional Development team.