April is National Internship Awareness Month, and Ohio University’s Career and Leadership Development Center, or CLDC, is helping students and alumni navigate through the internship, job search and application process. 

“At the Career and Leadership Development Center, we have a host of both services and resources students can access,” Imants Jaunarajs, assistant vice president and executive director of the CLDC, said. “It really is for students who have started out as first-years or just transferred in and all the way until students get what they need as seniors. It's even free for alumni. So we're a lifetime type of a service.”

Brandy Bailey, career coach at OU’s Lancaster campus, said Handshake is the number one tool the CLDC uses. Students can access this using their OU email and password. Through Handshake, students have the ability to schedule appointments with career coaches and other CLDC services. It also connects Bobcats with job opportunities and creates an environment for employers and students to network. She said Handshake allows students to create a profile showcasing their experiences and skills. 

“Even if a student is unsure where to start their career development journey, or maybe isn’t searching for an internship right now, it is never too early to schedule a career coaching appointment and meet with us,” Bailey said in an email. “Our motto is Early, Often, and Forever, so we want to help students at any stage of their journey, the earlier the better, as much as they want to meet, and even moving forward as they transition from students to alumni! We are here to help, so schedule an appointment via Handshake!”

Both Jaunarajs and Bailey said one of the biggest mistakes they see people making is not having someone else, such as a career coach, review their professional documents before applying for a job. They both stressed the importance of making sure to tailor one’s resumes or any other documents being submitted to the specific job a person is applying for. 

“I think internships are important for college students because it gives them the opportunity to see what a job or their field is like before they graduate and go out into the real-world,” Bailey said in an email. “Internships also provide the opportunity to build one’s skill-set and add experiences to their resume, so that when they do apply for jobs, they have something to show to potential employers!”

Jaunarajs said even though there have been negative impacts from the coronavirus pandemic, it has created more virtual and hybrid opportunities for college students. Jaunarajs said it is important that students do not try to “wait it out.” He recommends starting the internship search early. He said there might not be as many opportunities out there, but there are still some opportunities available. 

“The pandemic has made not just internships, but job searching much more difficult,” Jaunarajs said. “It impacted the economy in a negative way, and access to opportunities are more limited because we are in a pandemic. The recommendation is for students and alumni to be even more intentional in seeking out opportunities.”

Hadass Galili, a sophomore studying political science and the intern president of Hillel at OU, who goes by they/them pronouns, has been an intern with Hillel since their freshman year. They said working for an organization like Hillel, which is international and on most college campuses across the world, can be beneficial because someone could work for the organization long-term. Galili said it can also be a great tool for networking. 

“I think (an internship) is a great way to learn about yourself,” Galili said. “It is a great way to learn about the type of environment that you want to work in, in the future. It is a great way to learn about what kind of co-worker you are, what kind of leader you can be and really unlocking your potential. It is about self-discovery, and about understanding how you would work in a real-world situation that internships put you in.”

The CLDC has numerous resources, such as career coaching, mock interviews, workshops and training programs as well as the frequently held career fairs and other events. They also organize the Career Closet, which provides students with business professional clothing to wear during the internship, job search and application process. 

On Tuesday, April 20 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., the CLDC is hosting C10: Career in 10 (Employer Panel), connecting students to diversity-centered employers. From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. there is a virtual Job Search and Interviewing Workshop. Immediately following from 8 p.m to 9 p.m. is a LinkedIn Workshop. All three events are held on Microsoft Teams. 

The CLDC is holding all appointments virtually at this time, and appointments can be made through Handshake. Any student on OU’s main and regional campuses as well as OU alumni are encouraged to take advantage of the resources that the CLDC offers. 

@MaryJaneSanese

ms943920@ohio.edu