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Internships help students develop real-world, marketable skills

2021-03-29-Skylar Cochran internship
UNG junior Skylar Cochran uses a drone to film various construction projects. It is one of her assignments as the communications and marketing intern for the Development Authority of Lumpkin County. Her other responsibilities include writing press releases and editing staff newsletters, managing social media accounts, and filming videos. Cochran is a junior pursuing a degree in communications with a concentration in multimedia journalism.

Since January, University of North Georgia (UNG) student Skylar Cochran has been writing press releases and editing staff newsletters, managing social media accounts, and filming videos for the Development Authority of Lumpkin County.

These tasks are her responsibilities as the communications and marketing intern for the government agency. And each assignment that Cochran completes is another element she can add to her resume. For example, she has used a drone to film various constructions projects in the area.

"It's been a great experience," said the junior pursuing a degree in communications with a concentration in multimedia journalism. "I'm doing a little bit of everything, which I like."

The paid internship also has helped Cochran understand the communications field and cemented her career choice. That is a key objective of an internship, said Lori Cleymans, career services specialist at UNG.

"An internship helps students solidify their career option, or it gives them the opportunity to change course," said Cleymans, who is a certified professional career coach. "If you like what you do, then you are on the right track. But if you dislike the job, you have time to change your major."

An internship's second objective is to make students more marketable to future employers.

"Employers are more likely to hire applicants or take job candidates more seriously if they have two or more internships in their field under their belts," Cleymans said. "It shows the employer that the applicants have a genuine interest and a skill set to match."

She encourages all students to research and examine internship options as they begin their junior year. Students seeking summer internships should start applying in the spring. For fall internships, they should apply in the late spring and early summer.

"They are going into the upper-level classes and can apply the theories that they learn," Cleymans said. "It is also close to graduation. If an employer likes you and you like them, an internship might turn into a full-time position."

Finding an internship and getting the job take time and effort. UNG's Career Services can help with its resources and internship coordinators. But the most convenient step is for students to examine job boards. Cochran said she found her internship on Handshake, which is UNG's job board where businesses may post jobs and internships for free.

After the application process and an interview, Cochran landed the job. The 21-year-old from Cumming, Georgia, is earning a paycheck and three credit hours.

"During this experience, I have learned that I am interested in filming and broadcasting more than writing," said Cochran, who plans to pursue script supervising after she graduates in May 2022. "But I like public relations, too. I didn't think of it before."

 

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