Career Planning 101: How to Find Internships and Plan for your Future


CW/ Shelby West

Alyssa Schubert, Staff Reporter

Starting college can be a stressful time for anyone, especially those who do not know exactly what career path to go down.  

It can be daunting; there are so many options out there that it becomes difficult for students to recognize what is best for them. Even more so, figuring out the path to that end goal can create a lot of anxiety and stress.  

The University has a plethora of resources that assist students with class choices and internships, securing them in their decisions and giving them the best opportunities to develop their futures.  

The University of Alabama has a career center where students can go to ask advising questions about their careers. The University of Alabama’s Career Center makes it their mission to “partner with students as they explore possibilities, develop skills and connect with opportunities related to their professional endeavors.”  

Located at the University of Alabama Student Center in Suite 3400, the Career Center offers students the ability to speak with advisors and get guidance in selecting a major, career planning, developing job-search strategies and other topics involving career paths. They also hold annual events such as the Career Fair, which takes place Sept. 21 and 22 this fall.  

The Career Center has several resources for students trying to professionally prepare themselves, including a career action plan, resume builders and even tips for the jobs you can have with certain majors. 

Mary Lowery, the director of career and education development at the University of Alabama’s Career Center, said that a visit to the Career Center is a great first step for students planning their future.  

“The Career Center can help students create an action plan with manageable steps to take from their first year at UA to their senior year,” Lowery said. “Identifying interests, strengths and values is a great starting point and conversations with a career consultant can help with that first step.” 

Tiffany Goodin, a career advisor at the Career Center, said exploration is the best place to start for students who are trying to decide on their future.  

“[Exploration] may mean exploring career options online through networking, and it may mean self-exploration,” Goodin said. “It can be hard to look for a major or career path that aligns with your interests and values if you aren’t even sure what those interests and values are.”  

Goodin also explained experiential learning and why it is beneficial in discovering a student’s interests.  

“I think experiential learning is the way to go. For example, if you think you may want to be a social worker, volunteering at a non-profit can help you get a first-hand look at some similar activities. It can still be added to your resume, and it’s very helpful to figure out you don’t like something before you commit to a full-time job or even to a major,” Goodin said.  

Another great way for students to jumpstart their futures is through internships. The University of Alabama offers internship programs for students on- and off-campus, as well as a wide variety of nationwide and international opportunities.  

As defined by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, some components of a strong internship are “appropriate training and supervision, clear learning objectives and expectations, and a positive learning experience for students.” 

The Career Center also hosts Handshake, a job platform that helps students put together resumes and cover letters, and assists them in connecting with alumni and employers for career opportunities. According to Handshake’s website, “students can quickly build rich profiles, enjoy continual personalization’s of career recommendations based on interests and connections, and search 50,000 postings by 120,000 companies.”  

Students can access their Handshake account by logging in with their myBama username and password. An account is created right after classes begin. To complete their account, they simply need to upload a resume.  

Another useful resource is career advisors, who can be reached through the Career Center. Career advisors help students with anything from career plans to job negotiations. 

It can be difficult to decide what type of internship would best fit a specific career path, but according to Lynsey Dill, a career advisor for students in the engineering field, collecting as much information as possible is a great place to start.  

“I recommend at least one ‘informational interview’ or interviewer for whatever chosen field you are interested in,” Dill said. “This can look like a cup of coffee, a Zoom session, or a simple phone call in which you ask questions and allow the opportunity for them to share a ‘day in the life.’ Internships are a great way to sample what life is like in your chosen field.” 

The Career Center also has spaces to participate in mock interviews, quiet spaces for virtual interviews and calls, and has the Crimson Career Closet, where students can borrow business attire for interviews. 

For students first starting college and for those who are still trying to find their way, career advisors, internships and simple informational meetings are great ways to detect what kind of professional future they want and how to pursue their career.  

For more information on how to contact a specific advisor, visit the University of Alabama’s Career Center website.