This past Wednesday, Oct. 23, Kean's Leadership Institute held an event called Chapter After: Internship 101 in the Miron Student Center. This event was intended for Kean students of all grade levels and majors interested in learning about internships.
The presentation for the program made was by Paul Casey, managing assistant director of internships for Career Services, this hour-long event was intended not only to inform students about the different types of internships available, but also to help them learn about the top reasons for having internship experience. Students were also taught various research skills and strategic approaches for applying and preparing for internships.
Casey also serves as a liaison to the College of Liberal Arts and manages internships specifically in the fields of psychology, global studies and English. He calls internships the "new interview" for prospective employees.
"Your internship truly is the opportunity to interview for a job, and really make an impression on your employer," said Casey.
Throughout the event, Casey delved into the minds of employers, and described how to make the perfect first impression. He discussed the different skills employers look for today, and how internships can better these skills for the future. Besides being a great resumé builder, internships can have a positive impact on how students today use their leadership skills and professionalism to secure a job after graduation.
Casey also distinguished a difference between "hard skills" and "soft skills." While hard skills are more measurable abilities, such as writing or ability to research, soft skills are are more interpersonal, such as the ability to make relationships and network, or critical thinking.
"Soft skills, or essential skills, become more critical in the workplace," he said. "Hard skills can be taught; soft skills need to be developed."
After surveying 300 employers, Casey found that the top five critical skills today's employers are looking for are: critical thinking, problem-solving, self-awareness, adaptability and collaboration. These essential skills can all be easily nurtured and developed in an internship setting.
After experiencing work at an internship himself, Casey clarified that an internship does not necessarily have to be in your intended field of study. According to recent data, about 7 out of 10 post-graduates who have completed an internship gets a job offer.
"[Internships] give you relevant hands-on experience, you develop really important skills, and those references and the career network that you develop is why that number is 7 out of 10," said Casey.
Among post-graduates who completed two or three internships, that number jumps to about 95%according to Casey. Student credit can even be given after the completion of an internship. Depending on a student's major, up to six of your school credits can be from work experience outside of the classroom.
"It's really, really critical that internships are something that you explore while you're here," Casey stressed.
For further information on the Office of Career Services, they can be located in the Center for Academic Success, Room 201. Students may contact (908) 737-0320 or email their office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Casey can also be separately reached at email@example.com.
For more information on Chapter After events like these, please contact the Leadership Institute at (908) 737-5170 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Their office is located in the Center for Leadership and Service, Miron Student Center, Room 215.