Given the global economic state of affairs, the majority of students are questioning their ability to find a job after graduation. Most major companies have scaled back their open positions; many students are turning to post-grad positions with organizations such as Teach for America or deferring the job search for several more years while in graduate school. Still, the Career Center at Boston College stresses that job openings are in fact available to those who look in the right places. The best place to start finding a job? Internship experience. An interview with Russ Ventura, Internship Coordinator of Boston College’s Career Center, reveals the opportunities available to current students for the upcoming semester and summer.
Ventura begins, saying that the number of internships available this current school year has, for the most part, gone unchanged from previous years.
The University Career Action Network (UCAN) database lists thousands of internships from a nation-wide network offered to students from top schools, including Boston College. EagleLink, Boston College’s own database, includes listings from the Campus Recruiting Program and other known internship opportunities offered exclusively to BC students. The Internship Review system posts reviews from Boston College students regarding past internship programs, as well as contact information for the same companies.
Currently, there are 1,720 listings on the UCAN database, 238 in the EagleLink database, and 336 in the Interview Review system. Still, Ventura stresses that, “there are other ways to find internships besides looking at listed positions.” One should not limit his or her search to those three databases.
Primarily, Ventura encourages students to “be proactive,” and contact companies when they do not see an internship listing posted. Even more valuable is the skill to network. “Networking is always the best approach for finding employment,” Ventura affirms. “If students are uncomfortable or not knowledgeable about how to network, they should visit our office for advice.”
Also important to keep in mind is the fact that many valuable opportunities are overlooked when students focus their job or internship search on larger, well-known companies rather than exploring availability with smaller and medium-sized firms.
On a final note, regarding the majors most suited to finding a wide range of internship opportunities, Ventura emphasizes, “Students don’t realize how many employers are willing to look at students with any major. Companies are more concerned with the overall profile and how well the student has done in whatever they have studied.” Students should not forget the importance of their effort in classes, as well as extracurricular activities when focusing on the all-important internship or job search.
Despite the financial crisis, it seems that a wide range of opportunities are still available for students to “get a foot in the door” of their choice career. The key lies in looking in the right places. Ventura stresses the importance of starting the search early. A brief look at the Career Center website reveals the multitude of resources offered to students – from resume critiques and mock interviews to workshops and networking assistance. Furthermore, students should attend the Internship Fair on January 26 to meet with prospective employers and learn about various internship options.