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Work experience is as important as your degree

by Taylor Yankowski October 13, 2015
Work experience is as important as your degree

Internships are an ideal way for students to experience the workplace

Many people believe that what you learn in school is all you need to land your dream job. But in this day and age it’s not enough.

Internships are the key to showing your abilities to future employers. The hands-on experience will provide you with valuable lessons a textbook can’t.

Keeping your options open is key when looking for an internship. Photo by Marie-Pierre Savard.

Keeping your options open is key when looking for an internship. Photo by Marie-Pierre Savard.

No matter what the field of work is, internships allow for an  opportunity to test out your skills before committing to the job permanently. Through an internship, the company can determine if the intern would be a good fit for their organization in the future. For the intern, internships provide the opportunity to see what a job is really like.

Many people choose a field of study based on their interest in the subject. But there comes a moment where everyone must decide if they are in a certain program for the love of the subject or because they want to have a future working on what they have learned.

Keeping your options open is key when looking for an internship. Photo by Marie-Pierre Savard.

Keeping your options open is key when looking for an internship. Photo by Marie-Pierre Savard.

This is an overwhelming thought for most when asked what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

Mathieu Mackay, a finance student at John Molson School of Business, is an intern at the Business Development Bank of Canada as a financial analyst. Mackay knows exactly what he needs to do in order to land his dream job and seize all opportunities.

“In this day and age more than ever, merely showing up to class and [taking] exams with minimal effort simply won’t cut it,” he said. “More than ever, companies are looking for students that will offer added value through life experiences, work experiences and higher degrees.”

Mackay has joined the John Molson Competition Committee in delegation. He will complete an exchange program in Amsterdam in the winter of 2016 and he is taking international finance courses to distinguish himself from his classmates.

Standing out and having an impressive resumé will help get you that crucial interview for your internship.

Concordia journalism student Kelsey Litwin took part in an internship this summer as a communications assistant at TRIUMF in Vancouver. Even though TRIUMF is a physics company, Litwin did not need to be an expert in physics to land this job.

“It is important to think outside the box and [not to] stick with the typical internships you think are necessary to your field,” said Litwin. “You never know what possibilities will lie outside of those strict guidelines.”

When it comes to preparing for your interview, Litwin believes that researching the company beforehand helps you find your common interests with the company as well as what new skills you can acquire from this opportunity.

When deciding what internship to pursue, choose a company you are interested in, no matter how wild the idea may seem. Check their website or call the human relations department to enquire about possible student hiring opportunities for a one to three month span.

Mackay believes that when you build a lifestyle filled with interesting projects, it’ll naturally lead you to an exciting internship and a promising career. There is an endless supply of possibilities out there, but only if you are hungry for the chase.

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