Gaining Experience

College is a crucial time for students to not only plan for their career future, but to take action by building a history of career-related experiences! The following types of experiences can contribute to post-graduation career success.

Job Shadowing

Allows an individual to directly observe the work of a professional. Typically, these experiences are for a very short-term period of perhaps a day, a week or a month. Review this source for more information.

Volunteerism/Community Service

Students can learn and apply a great deal of career-related skills by participating in volunteer projects. Opportunities are typically readily available due to the fact that every community has many local non-profits and other organizations that depend greatly on the work of volunteers. Not only can these opportunities lead to relevant bullet points on a resume, but they can also provide networking opportunities and lead to strong references/recommendation letters. For those seeking to volunteer in the Rocky Mount area, the United Way Tar River Region’s Partner Agency List is an excellent resource:

Involvement in Student Organizations/Teams

Students who take on an active role in student organizations or teams can find themselves building many relevant bullet points for their resume. This is accomplished by the student selecting organizations where they will invest greatly in leading the group and/or coordinating specific projects, rather than merely participating as a general member.   

Part-Time & Seasonal Jobs

It is ideal for students to secure part-time and/or seasonal work during their time as a student in order to ensure they have some work history built up before graduation. Of course, it is best when students are able to find work that most directly relates to their long-term career goals but establishing a history of any type of work experience is important as it will show future employers that the individual understands workplace dynamics and has demonstrated the ability to successfully multitask by holding a job while also maintaining strong academics. Making great impressions in the workplace is also a powerful networking strategy that can lead to future opportunities. 


“An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.” (National Association of Colleges & Employers)

To identify internship opportunities students should regularly search online for posted opportunities while also putting their personal networking skills into practice by directly contacting individuals in their field. Cold-calling relevant businesses/organizations and also using sources such as LinkedIn can be extremely helpful in developing new contacts. Students should also utilize contacts they already have (professors, advisors, coaches, fellow students, community members, etc.) by ensuring everyone in their network is aware of the type of opportunity they are seeking and has been directly asked if they know anyone within the field who they might be able to refer the student to. The Office of Career Development & Leadership assists with this process as well by posting all known opportunities on Handshake while also coaching students on their personal networking strategies.

Interested in a Remote/Virtual Experience?

Below are a few reputable organizations that work with a wide range of industries to offer opportunities: