Recently I attended VSB Rise to the Top – Experiential Education Series: Internship Action Plan Workshop, which was lead by Kaitlyn Grady. Kaitlyn’s main objective was to give the members of the workshop a look on how to advance oneself professionally. As most of us at the workshop were current freshman, we first looked at externships. An externship involves shadowing a company for one or two days, and is an excellent way to learn more about a firm or industry. Kaitlyn also talked about internships, but most internships take students after sophomore and junior year, so internships didn’t apply to the workshop as much. However, Kaitlyn brought up several points surrounding internships, and one important point in particular was the need to keep an open mind during internships, as well as externships. One could find their dream job in their dream field, or one could learn that sector of work isn’t for them. This was extremely helpful to me, as I realized that what I might want to do isn’t set in stone. Towards the end of the workshop Kaitlyn discussed networking, a skill that is crucial for advancing in one’s career. Networking consists of developing connections, making friends, and using friends of friends to rise to the top. With modern day social media networking has never been easier, and apps like Linkedin are designed with the sole purpose of building ones network. Kaitlyn expressed the importance of jumping on Linkedin and other networking platforms, as it is never too early to build ones network. She even gave an example of how one of the Villanova students received a dream internship from Linkedin alone.
Another important aspect of the workshop was Kaitlyn navigating us through Handshake. She showed us the different opportunities Handshake offers to Villanova students, focusing on the many externships and internships available. I can see how Handshake could be intimidating to someone who doesn’t regularly use the website, so Kaitlyn breaking it down step by step would be a great way to get more experience.
To those reading this blog, I strongly encourage you to attend Rise to the Top in the future. All of those who were in attendance were focused in, trying to soak in all the information that Kaitlyn gave. As someone who wishes to get an externship, build their network, and one day work an internship I thought it was extremely helpful. I have attached a few links at the bottom, great reads about the importance of networking and keeping an open mind during internships that solidify Kaitlyn’s points. Thanks for reading.