When the semester ends in May, many students head out to work, to travel, or even back to the classroom to take more courses. And many will start an internship. Angela Beemer is the director of Cooperative Education and Internships for the College and helps students find internships for summer and throughout the year.
Through the Montgomery College Co-op Program, students have worked for the National Institutes of Health, WRC-TV (NBC 4), US Congress, Marriott, Lockheed Martin, Voice of America, IBM, Euromotor Cars, NIST, Actera, Georgetown Law Center, Suburban Hospital, National Aquarium, Washington Post, Celera Genomics, American Red Cross, Department of Justice, Montgomery County Police, and many more.
There are many benefits to working as an intern—students get experience in a career field in which they are interested, earn academic credit, and learn how to work in a professional setting. Likewise, employers can see an intern’s work, work habits, and attitude. If a position is available, Beemer says the companies “often choose to hire someone whose work they have witnessed rather than someone whose work they don’t know.”
The Montgomery College Cooperative Education and Internship Office helps students locate part-time internships related to their major and provides resume writing assistance. An internship course helps students understand more about their preparedness for entering their career field, the skills they are developing on the job, the career skills they need to improve, and how to locate resources related to their career.
To make the most of an internship, Beemer says a good attitude is a must. Even if the internship isn’t perfect, show up with a positive attitude and enthusiasm every day. Most career fields are small and you want to have a good reputation follow you out the door. Other good tips:
- Be a quick learner and show interest in learning new tasks; ask questions.
- Be on time every day and meet deadlines without fail. Stay late if you can without complaint.
- Look and listen. Be observant. You will learn a lot about the workplace—from how to handle a call to your bosses’ pet peeves—when your ears and eyes are open.
- Take initiative. An intern should reduce the workload, not add to it. “I can write up that report for you today” or just do it. “I put together a list of frequently asked questions callers are asking on the phone.” Not sure? Ask how you can help.
- Avoid gossip and office politics.
- Avoid personal business on office time. If you have some down time, read industry publications, not social media.
- Look for opportunities to interact with other departments. Keep track of the people you meet during the internship.
- Keep copies of your work to build your portfolio.
Ready to get to work? Learn more about how to participate in the Cooperative Education and Internship Program.