As the end of the semester draws near, students have begun to use the Center for Career and Calling (CFCC) in search of internships, even though many do not begin until summer 2016.

Through one-on-one appointments, the CFCC helps students navigate the internship process and connects them with resources that help them to find the perfect internship. The CFCC also aids students by reviewing their résumé and LinkedIn account. The center prepares students by setting up mock interviews so students can confidently and professionally walk into the internship application process.

Along with helping students apply for internships, the CFCC is one of many offices that gives students networking opportunities and prepares students for future jobs.

The internship programs allow both undergraduate and graduate students to experience work that is fundamental to their degree.

One of the changes to this year’s internship programs is that CFCC is working more closely with both companies and students.

“We are partnering more directly with companies and organizations to provide directed recruitment efforts with APU students,” CFCC Director Phil Brazell said. “We are tailoring experiences for both the students and employers.”

An example of this is the “Greet and Eat with Employers” event where students interested in internships with a specific company can have a meal and interact with recruiters from that organization.

“Internships are one of the most critical aspects of career development and discernment for students,” said Brazell, who points to national research that shows internships have a 50 percent conversion rate into full-time work. “The practical experience makes students more marketable in the job search process while also giving them an opportunity to see a hands-on and insider perspective into a particular line of work or industry. These experiences are invaluable to the career journey for students.”

Assistant professor for the department of social work Emily Blackmer explains the benefits for social workers when searching for an internship.

“What sets apart a social work internship is that students receive regular clinical supervision, and further, the internship is a necessary part of attending an accredited social work program,” Blackmer said. “We receive our accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education. These internships, unlike some, are recognized professionally as a result of the high level of clinical supervision and are relevant and necessary for student résumés upon graduation as they begin the employment search.”

The bachelor’s of social work program (BSW) has a total of 45 available internship options. Blackmer said they are currently using 34 of those sites to facilitate internships for 48 senior social work students. All students in the BSW program complete an internship throughout their entire senior year.

“I can advise students about the long-term value of putting classroom knowledge into practice while still having the support of faculty and supervisors as a way to not only prepare them for the work world and make them more marketable, but to have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes without jeopardizing a career or doing harm to clients,” Blackmer said. “Being a student is a time when ‘failing well’ is actually beneficial to one’s professional and personal development.”

Sophomore music and worship major Nathan Whitmire believes talking to professors and other students who have already participated in or are going to participate in internships is a good networking strategy.

“Talk with your professors about internships they did in college, or if they have any connections to any companies now,” Whitmire said. “A lot of professors are really open about that and are willing to help you succeed any way they can.”

Whitmire plans to intern next summer as a worship leader with Next Step Ministries. He said that the internship fair on Cougar Walk is a good resource.

Sophomore journalism major Ayzia King also shed light on her past experience as an intern at ABC News.

“I got involved with the internship because I was looking for something to do for the summer, and I reached out to people that were within my network,” King said. “Networking was the main reason I landed the internship, so having connections and keeping up with those connections is what I used.”

King advises students looking for internships to start young.

“The most important thing I learned during my internship is to start young,” King said. “Making connections and having a network can get you farther in [the journalism] business than anything else.”