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Internship experience helps UNG students with career paths

Lori Cleymans, career services specialist at the University of North Georgia (UNG), meets with students to help them find internships in their chosen profession. She also can help students with their resumes, LinkedIn profiles and interview skills.

Lori Cleymans has met several students ranging from psychology to science majors as a career services specialist at the University of North Georgia (UNG). However, one recent situation involving a student majoring in math stands out.

"Last semester, I had a math student who thought she wanted to go into research," Cleymans said. "She did an internship where she did a lot of research and was crunching numbers. She hated it. She found it really boring and tedious. And she said 'This is not what I want to do.'"

This single experience is a prime example of why Cleymans encourages students, whether they are freshman or seniors, to complete at least one internship before graduating.

"By working this internship early, it allowed the student, while she was in school and has the time, to figure out what other direction or profession she can go in," Cleymans said. "If she had waited until after graduation, she might have felt trapped in a job she didn't like."

It's Cleymans job to ensure the students who enter the Career Services office do not feel that way.

"I don't like stories where a person thinks their college degree is worthless," she said.

To help students find internships and ultimately jobs in their chosen profession, the Career Services offices on UNG's Dahlonega, Gainesville and Oconee campuses offer one-on-one sessions with students as well as group workshops. Both allow students to learn the skills to find and land an internship or job.

An Internship Tips Workshop will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 25 in meeting room 1 of the Student Center on the Gainesville Campus. It will focus on paid and unpaid internships, earning college credit, and finding and applying for an internship.

Cleymans said research is key to finding an internship, because many companies have early deadlines. For example, companies with summer internships accept applications from January to March. For fall, applications need to be submitted in late spring.

"Some places require submission a year to a semester in advance," Cleymans said. "For example, AT&T has a two-year program. It's an intense program."

She advises students to research opportunities as soon as possible.

"You can never start too early," she said. "People don't realize how time-consuming and challenging a job search is."

Once students know where they want to apply, she and other career services specialists can map out a plan to land the internship, including writing a resume, creating a LinkedIn account and preparing for an interview. In one-one-one sessions, Cleymans said she can help students formulate their resumes to the company's needs, help guide a person in designing a LinkedIn page and conduct a mock interview. She also advises students to spend 30-40 minutes on the internet to learn about the company before the interview.

"You can wow them in the interview and prove your value and worth," she said. "I had a different math student who had no part-time work and no club involvement on her resume. But she got the job by rattling off the facts that she knew about the company and why she wanted to work there."

Once students get the internship and start working in the real world, they have invaluable experience.

"Plus, they can know 'Yes. I'm on the right path,'" Cleymans said. "Or 'Whoops. I've made a mistake. I don't want to do this.' And the earlier you can do that, the better.'"

Career Services Workshops

Dahlonega Campus:
All events are from noon to 1 p.m. in the Stewart Center room 332

Jan. 29 — Summer Internship Search Strategies Workshop
Feb. 5 — Create Great Resumes! Workshop
Feb. 12 — Ready for Career Fairs? 10 Things You Need to Know Workshop
Feb. 19 — Impressing Employers through your Social Media Workshop
March 5 — Interview Skills Boot Camp Workshop
March 26 — Emergency Job Search Workshop

Gainesville Campus:
All events are from noon to 1 p.m. in meeting room 1 of the Student Center

Feb. 6 — Resume Writing Workshop
Feb. 13 — Veterans Resume Writing Workshop
Feb. 21 — Interview Skills Workshop
March 7 — Preparing for a Job Fair Workshop
March 21 — Using LinkedIn for your Job Search

Oconee Campus:
All events are from noon to 1 p.m. in classroom 310

Jan. 31 — Career Planning, Mapping Out Your Future
Feb. 21 —Resume Writing and Critique Workshop
March 7 — Interview Preparation Workshop
March 21 — How Social Media can help (or hurt) your Job Search Workshop

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