Landing an internship or job can seem intimidating, and some students may not know where to start or what to look for. Luckily for UCCS students, the T. Rowe Price Career and Innovation Center provides students with resources and support to connect with an internship or find the right career.
Brie Escobedo, a career exploration coach with the career center, said the key behind finding the best internship is introspection and research.
According to Escobedo, students should begin their search by identifying the skills their desired career will require and looking for an internship or job to fill those skill gaps.
She said, “[The career center is] really big on trying to find the gaps if you’re trying to go into an industry. What are some of the skill sets that you’re going to learn? Is this going to be a valuable place for you to either embrace your skill sets and things that you’ve learned … or are you going to be learning new things that are going to be applicable for that real deal job once you graduate?”
Escobedo stressed the importance of work experience in the modern workforce. “That experience piece is so critical. Nowadays, [most] employers care more about your experience than what your degree is actually in,” she said.
“One thing we really try to amplify is in order to figure out what you want to do, you got to figure out what you don’t want to do. So, knowing that an internship might not have all the bells and whistles or be the castle on the mountaintop of opportunities, how can you reframe the situation to ‘I really need X, Y and Z to move into this career or this industry,’” she said.
Along with matching needed skills, students should also make sure a company’s values align with their own. Students can have a negative experience if their values clash with those of their employers. Escobedo emphasized researching the company’s mission statement and how the company interacts with the community to avoid this situation.
Escobedo recommends asking questions in interviews to get an idea of what the job responsibilities are. She said, “I always encourage students to ask questions like, ‘Can you give me some examples of some projects that internships and interns have completed?’ Or ‘What is the formal training for this position look like?’”
Students should be wary of certain red flags for disingenuous internships. Escobedo recommends students always check the official company website to see if the internship position is real, and she said the company contact will always have a company versus a personal email (i.e., @google.com vs. @gmail.com).
She also recommends for students to look out for offers that sound too good to be true and avoid internships that make you pay anything to apply for or work at the internship.
The career center’s resources can help students prepare strong applications to secure a job or internship. Escobedo said, “We pride ourselves on being the center that equips students with the tools and resources to get that job … so that they can when they fly out of the nest, they have those resources to do that on their own.”
These resources include resume coaching, interview skills, job searching and access to nationwide job and internship boards. “These are companies who have to be vetted through UCCS. So, any internship that’s on there is not a scam, it’s appropriate and when they solicit out opportunities, they specifically select UCCS,” she said.
The career center also provides in-person services to help students map out their futures, even for those who still have not officially decided on their career path.
Escobedo personally helps students discover what jobs relate to their degree, including different specialties in each position the student can begin working towards now. She is also certified to use Design Your Life, a program from a Stanford University class to help students determine their career interests.
She said, “It uses a lot of introspection. It uses a lot of reflection, brainstorming, vision boarding; creative tools to help students kind of make sense of themselves, their experience and where they want to go.”
The career center’s coaches and services are available to UCCS students even after graduation. “So as soon as students graduate, they still have that ability to connect with us … knowing that they have resort they can resource us at whatever point is always a relief for [alumni],” Escobedo said.
The career center works with employers and their internship coordinators to host job fairs and networking opportunities for students. Students receive notice of these opportunities via email.
The career center will be open during the summer semester from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students can request an appointment via Starfish or by emailing the career center at [email protected].
The Student Employment Assistant Network also has community-based job and internship opportunities students can search for at seans.uccs.edu.