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Internships offer invaluable step onto career path


Construction engineering student Jacob Western gives the ASU Sun Devil hand sign outside Shell Oil company facilities in Texas where he worked as a summer intern.

Every Fulton Schools student should pair their major with a minor in “job search.”

That’s the emphatic recommendation of the advisers in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Career Center.

“Learning the skills to do a job and learning the skills to get a job are two very different things,” said career coach Joyce Donahue.

Students can better equip themselves with job skills through getting experience in research early in their undergraduate year, participating in entrepreneurship endeavors and community service projects, as well as student organization activities and engineering-related competitions.

But for learning job search skills, the most valuable experience can be found in the pursuit of an internship while still in school.

Going through the process of landing an internship provides a primer on what it takes to find the kind of full-time employment after graduation that will lay solid groundwork for a rewarding career, said Career Center director Robin Hammond.

The internship search itself provides an introduction to the networking and self-marketing efforts – and the presentation and communications skills – it will require to land a top job.

And working an internship provides a platform for even more invaluable personal and professional development.

“What you learn in an internship can help you discover your strengths and reveal the things that will drive you and define your career aspirations,” Hammond said.

One of the most important lessons to be learned is that in today’s world engineers can’t rise to success simply on technical expertise.

High grades in school and good performances on employers’ tests of technical knowledge aren’t enough to win a good full-time position – or even a summer internship.

“You will have to pass the culture-fit interview,” explains Vicki Fox, the Career Center’s associate director.

Beyond well-trained technicians, employers want engineers who mesh with company culture.

They look for employees who show outstanding interpersonal and teamwork skills, those who can collaborate effectively with professionals in various fields outside of engineering, and who can foster creativity, Fox said.

Students’ “job search” education can begin by becoming familiar with the services provided by the Fulton Schools Career Center. Those services include help with developing and writing résumés, interview skills, and learning to use myriad online resources for job searches and to seek out internship opportunities.

Beyond that, students can jump into the competitive fray at the next Fulton Schools Career Fair on Oct. 1 on the ASU Tempe campus or the Fall Career & Internship Fair Oct. 2 at the ASU Polytechnic campus.

About 120 companies and other employers will be represented at the Tempe campus fair, giving students the chance to explore a broad range of potential job and internship opportunities.

Download the free ASU Career Fair Plus app to see what companies will be at the Oct. 1 fair:  iOS Link; Android App

Read about the recent internship experiences of several Fulton Schools engineering students – how they landed their intern positions, what they learned on the job and what advice they have for other students seeking internship opportunities:

Sophie Bucknell – industrial engineering

Daniel Cheney – mechanical engineering

Danyell Dunwiddie – aeronautical technology management

Jesse Klein – electrical engineering

Naisargi Nandedkar – biomedical engineering

Jacob Western – construction management

Media Contact
Joe Kullman, [email protected]
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

About The Author

Joe Kullman

Joe Kullman is a science writer for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Before joining Arizona State University in 2006, Joe worked as a reporter, writer and editor for newspapers and magazines dating back to the dawn of the age of the personal computer. He began his career while earning degrees in journalism and philosophy from Kent State University in Ohio. Media Contact: [email protected] | 480-965-8122 | Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Communications

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