By Katie Ericson, Senior Academic Counselor
Summer. What a wonderful time of year! School’s out for the summer, the pools are open, and trips with family and friends are scheduled.
But there’s still work to be done! While many students find this time of year to put school on pause, maybe take a summer class or two, or just enjoy a few months off before the real world starts again, the summer is also a great time to take advantage of shadowing and internship opportunities.
Degrees are great when it comes to employment, and such a huge accomplishment that shouldn’t go uncelebrated! But the experiences you get outside of the classroom in college can make all of the difference when applying for your dream job. Many fields are looking for students to have experience in their selected field by graduation, and shadowing and/or internships are a great way to get that experience! This can be a great way to network and make connections that may help you later in the job search as well. Internships, shadowing, and co-ops come in a variety of ways and can be either paid or unpaid.
Many majors at Texas Tech require an internship of some kind in order to graduate, so it’s important to check with your major advisor about that before it’s your final semester as a Senior. If you are not required to have field experience for your major before you graduate, it is still a good idea to expose yourself to the field that you are working so hard to enter after college.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers, or NACE, cites that the most common benefits for interns and shadowing include planned social activities, paid holidays and recognition for work service time. More importantly though, NACE states the most highly regarded skills that interns can develop were the ability to work in a team, obtain and process information, organizational and planning skills, verbal communication skills, and decision making/problem-solving skills. These are skills that can be transferable to any job, and with provided examples from your experience, this can set you apart from many of your peers.
Another benefit of shadowing, internships, and getting exposure to the field you are interested in is that it gives you a perspective to the field you may have dreamed of. This can affirm you are in the right field, or let you know that a certain career path might not be what you thought it was, and help you change your degree and career path before it’s too late.
NACE also sites that career fairs and on-campus recruiting are rated the highest in effectiveness for recruiting interns and those interested in shadowing experiences. We are so lucky to have the Texas Tech University Career Center on campus, serving both current students and Red Raider alum for free. The TTU Career Center hosts multiple career fairs throughout the year, and also has some great resources on the TTU Career Center website.
The Career Center also has a great webpage filled with resources for resume writing, interviewing, and a large section for Internships, in the career development section!
Hire Red Raiders is also a great resource for students and alum to look for job postings and internship opportunities both on and off campus!
While we hope you’re having a great summer wherever the summer may take you, we also hope you are continuing to further your education, whether this is in the classroom, or in the field of your choice. Feel free to contact the TECHniques Center, your degree advisor, and/or the TTU Career Center (806-742-2210) if you have any further questions or need resources to help you advance your career!