Column: From college to career

Taylor Leckie

Photo by Taylor Leckie
From left: Alex Coronado and Alex Stanley model the transition from casual student to hirable professional.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Besides Batman.

The odds are that you probably have a general field in mind, such as business, teaching or the circus, but a specific job or company might be more difficult to pinpoint.

Perhaps you’ve heard the word “internship” tossed around before — maybe by an adviser, fellow students or your parents riding you about it. Listen to these people, internships are very valuable. They allow you to try out a job while you’re still in school and increase your chances of getting a jump on your career.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “intern” refers to an advanced student or graduate in a professional field gaining supervised practical experience. You might be asking yourself questions such as:

•Can I play in a professional field?
•Who will be supervising me?
•What is “practical experience” anyways?
•Finally, “Where do I look to find these answers?”

As my Grandee always says, “Are you looking to look? Or looking to find?” Either way, UNF can answer these questions and help you, and that’s why you’re here isn’t it? Believe it or not, there’s more to college than social activities.

Find yourself some new friends with benefits.

Get familiar with your pals at Career Services. They are located in Founders Hall/Building 2 and their hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. They can link you to a wide variety of career opportunities and internships in fields including business, nonprofit agencies, government, advertising/public relations and human service agencies. If you are a business major however, you should go to the Career Management Center located in Building 42, Suite 2021.

If you still think investigating an internship may not be worth the effort, think about this: Kelly Hunter, a UNF graduate, worked as an intern for a government agency which granted her a top security clearance. After graduation, her security clearance helped her secure a full time position with a top aerospace company that starts new hires with these credentials around $60,000 – $75,000 annually. Not to mention the organization is paying for her to travel around the world to do her job.

Whether you wish to be the top chef at a famous restaurant or an expert in the field of medicine, internships are the way to help you achieve these goals. Most companies will not hire people off the streets and grant them access to an inside look at career opportunities. This is another advantage of attending college where organizations invite students in with the hope that one day a mutual, profitable affiliation will develop between one another. Now, I don’t know about you, but that is the kind of relationship I would have no problem committing to.

Most of your search will take place in Career Wings, which is a job/internship-posting system exclusively available for UNF students and graduates. You can browse and apply for these postings and upload your resume.

If your resume hasn’t been updated since you got that waiter/cashier job in high school, fear not. Your friends at Career Services or the Career Management Center can help you get your resume up to date, out the door and into the right hands.

Use your resources, and be proactive in your search.

UNF can help you achieve your goals. An internship is an invaluable resource to try out different jobs and help you figure out what you want to do when venturing out of the Osprey’s nest.

After all, not everyone can be Batman.

Email Taylor Leckie at [email protected]