Just how important are internships? According to NACE’s Job Outlook 2017 survey, more than 90 percent of employers who responded prefer candidates with work experience, with more than half preferring that it comes from an internship or co-op.
“We recognize that employers are looking to hire individuals with real-world experience,” notes UMGC Assistant Director of Career Programming Cathy Francois. “We offer our students and alumni the InternPLUS program to help them gain marketable skills and build a strong resume so they are competitive in the job market.”
Options for everyone
Through InternPLUS, UMGC partners with employers to create flexible and creative internships, which is even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic when companies have shifted to virtual platforms and remote work. InternPLUS opportunities include:
- Project-based experiences
- Virtual experiences
- Volunteer positions
- Part-time and full-time internships
- Temporary positions
“We understand that many of our students and alumni are juggling school, family life and work,” says Francois. “In order to accommodate their busy lives, we offer a wide range of internship opportunities. Our goal is to make this valuable experience accessible to everyone.”
InternPLUS is open to all UMGC undergraduate and graduate students, as well as alumni.
Opportunities include both paid and unpaid work experiences with government agencies, for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations.
“These internship positions cover a wide range of fields and industries so students and alumni can gain experience that is relevant to their professional goals,” adds Francois.
Thousands of employers already use CareerQuest—UMGC’s job board—to find UMGC talent to fill both full- and part-time positions and other workplace needs. However, you can find many InternPLUS opportunities on CareerQuest, too. Simply upload your résumé into the database, and you’ll be ready to search for internships that match your career or education interests.
You can also find links to other InternPLUS opportunities by clicking on the InternPLUS tab in CareerQuest. Complete the InternPLUS Navigator Quiz to be guided to the opportunity that best suits your career and lifestyle.
Making the most of a virtual internship
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many internship opportunities are online. It’s easy to make connections when you’re working face-to-face, but you have to put a little more effort into building relationships when they are virtual. Ongoing communication is key to a successful experience.
Start by setting clear expectations and goals for the internship with your manager. Be sure to learn your leader’s preferred methods for staying in touch, whether it’s email, video conferences, phone calls or texts. Then establish regular touch-base meetings where you can update your manager on your progress with assigned projects, ask questions, gather feedback and continue to build rapport.
“Don’t forget about dialing in to the company culture,” says Francois. “Research the organization’s mission and values, and ask questions about how different departments interact with each other.”
It’s also important to reach out to colleagues individually to learn more about their roles in the company, explore different career paths, solicit professional advice and expand your network. Since you can’t connect over coffee in the breakroom or a sandwich at the corner deli, you’ll need to leverage phone calls, messaging and virtual meetings.
While an internship during the pandemic may look different than the standard experience, it’s still an indispensable career-building tool.
“Participating in an InternPLUS opportunity can add real-world experience to your résumé, boost your skill set, build your confidence and help you be more competitive when applying for the next step in your career,” sums up Francois.
Discover how InternPLUS can help you gain the experience you need to further your career. Visit careerquest.umgc.edu for more information or call 240-684-2720.