Students plan for the future

    Due to an increasingly tough job market, internships are now more crucial than ever. A recent survey of UCSD alumni found that over 30 percent of graduates obtained their current jobs through a previous internship or part-time work experience. With the opening of the new internship resource room at the Career Services Center, students can now access resources and assistance to help them find the perfect internship.

    Adam Breckler
    Guardian

    “”An internship can help make those difficult decisions after you graduate,”” said Shannon Roberts, UCSD’s internship coordinator. “”It can help you determine what you want to do, what you like, what you don’t like. It is an experience with a real work environment that you can’t get otherwise.””

    Career Services Center employees determined that there is a growing interest in internships, yet many students do not know where to look for them. Although internship advising has been provided in past years, emphasis was not placed on advertising this service. Plus, with all the internship materials mixed in with other career books, it was difficult to find exactly what was needed.

    To solve this problem, an organized room has been devoted to internship resources. Located in the Career Services Center’s large, round, internship resource room, there is a library of directories, such as the “”Internship Bible,”” which has thousands of listings across the country. In addition, the internships are categorized by field and location to facilitate a customized search. Several computers are available to search the internship listings on the Career Services Internet Super Site, print out information, or work on a resume.

    An entire section of the room is dedicated to the UCDC program, which offers internships for a variety of career fields in Washington, D.C. This is a unique opportunity that combines the experience of an internship with a college exchange program. Evaluations from past students and information on how to participate are available, and advisers even assist students with the program’s application process.

    To further aid in researching and applying for internships, UCSD hired three peer advisers to handle intake advising and to guide students as they search the room. They are available to answer basic questions during the day. Appointments can also be made for advisers who can assist students with resume-writing, critiquing, helping them perfect their interview skills or answering any other questions. Drop-in advising is Monday through Wednesday from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

    Of course, not everyone knows exactly what their career plans are. For all those who have not yet declared a major or remain unsure about the one they did choose, an internship is an excellent opportunity to determine if the field is desirable. Many freshmen and sophomores want to do internships but do not know which particular ones to try. Often, this decision merely requires some self-assessment, which the Career Services Center is also able to prompt.

    “”You don’t need to be very narrow, you just need a little focus,”” Roberts said.

    The aptly titled Focus — An Interactive Career and Educational Planning System, can help a student do just that with a questionnaire that has nine sections of questions about values, interests, skills and personality. Based on the answers, it gives recommendations of careers that correspond with a student’s choices. Not only does this serve to narrow educational focus, it also exposes the student to options that may not have been previously considered.

    “”I was feeling stressed about what to pick as a career, so I decided to give the program a shot,”” said Jenny Regas, a John Muir College sophomore who used Focus this year to help her pick a major. “”I actually found out about a job I had never heard of before: a child life specialist, which helps children in the hospital to not feel too stressed or upset. It was definitely something I wouldn’t have considered without doing this.””

    Perhaps the most useful element of this service is the career exploration section that describes all aspects of the job, from duties to potential salaries to expected growth in the field. There is even the option of comparing two jobs side-by-side to help students size up their options. Focus can be used from any computer with Internet access after signing up for a user name and password with any of the peer advisers in the internship room.

    Roberts gives several internship workshops at the Career Services Center that guide students toward specific aspects, such as resumes or interviews, which are often overlooked in preparing for an internship.

    “”Preparing an Internship Resume”” covers the details of a great resume, which is the first impression one makes on a company. The hour-long course gives helpful advice on writing the different sections, including what activities and qualities are most valued by employers. Sample resumes are provided to visually reinforce the material. The next workshop will be Feb. 10.

    “”Finding an Internship That’s Right for You”” will be given Feb. 26, and covers the basics of searching for an internship that is suited to your particular goals. It is an ideal workshop for those who have no idea where to begin.

    The last workshop is tailored to small groups and highlights one of the most dreaded elements of any job or internship: the interview. “”On Camera: Practice Interviewing for Internships”” is a role-playing exercise to develop and improve interviewing skills. Each person is filmed while they answer several mock interview questions and then the tape is shown to the whole group. Roberts and the students are able to give feedback based on what they see and then they repeat the process. Students are able to utilize such feedback on their second turn and thereby improve their skills.

    Feb. 10 through Feb. 14 is Internship Interview Week, and many large companies, such as Microsoft, Federal Express and Triage Consulting Group, will be on campus accepting resumes and interviewing students. These are for summer internship positions and some have certain requirements, so visit the Career Services Center to get more information on each company.

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