In today’s world, field work and internships are almost as necessary as an actual degree when it comes to getting your first job and starting your career. Internships are a great way to gain experience in a field that interests you, and there are lots of ways to find them – online searches, meeting with a career counselor, or the classic postings some academic departments put up on their bulletin boards. While these are great ways to find an internship, creating personal connections with people in the field will benefit you the most.
Talking with professors is a great way to start learning how to network while you’re still on campus. Visiting office hours and discussing career and research interests will give you greater insight into possible fields and opportunities available to you. When I was a sophomore, I went to the faculty and staff page on the UConn Psychology website and explored different professors whose interests were similar to mine. I contacted each professor and met with them to talk about their interests and research. One had an opening for a research assistant in her lab that spring! Without talking to professionals with similar career interests, I would have never landed that position. A friend of mine in the School of Business found out about an internship through one of her professors, who saw the posting and thought she would be a great fit.
Aside from possible research and internship opportunities, networking with your professors can also result in awesome letters of reference for an internship that you find on your own. Professors have the ability to know you on a personal level and can attest to your work ethic and interest in a classroom, which can translate to performance in an internship.
If you’re nervous about the networking process, getting to know professors will give you the practice you need to gain confidence for talking with employers and professionals in your industry.
For more information and assistance for finding internships, visit the UConn Center for Career Development, Room 202, and make a walk-in appointment with a career counselor Monday through Friday 12PM – 4PM.