Internships provide experience that is educational, positive and a much-needed boost to make resumes more competitive
By Marissa Saldivar
For many college students, a bachelor’s degree alone is no longer enough to land a post-graduate job in the field of their studies. As more people have chosen to go to college, bachelor degrees have become more and more common, creating an ultra-competitive job market which requires students to find other accolades besides a degree to distinguish themselves.
Most companies hiring newly grads want applicants that have at least a year or two of relevant, real-life work experience in addition to their studies when hiring to fill a job position. Students lacking these experiences to pad their resumes are often left frustrated at the lack of job opportunities once graduation day rolls around.
In light of this comes a dilemma many students find themselves facing: how does one attain work experience if so many jobs out there require work experience as a prerequisite? It is here that internships – such as the ones offered by the Construction Industry Research Board (CIRB) – become pivotal to bridging the gap between student and post-grad professional when a degree by itself isn’t enough to cut it.
The Construction Industry Research Board (CIRB), a data-collecting service and statistical resource for California building permits, has helped college-level students attain crucial internship and entry-level work experience since 2019. CIRB’s office is located in Sacramento, Calif., so naturally it attracts many students from Sacramento State University who are looking to boost their resumes. CIRB has even become an approved Federal Work Study location and a Sac State Community Partner for undergraduate and graduate programs, which allows students to earn academic credit in three of Sac State’s departments through semester-long internships.
“Being an intern for CIRB was a great and fulfilling experience,” said Jaida McDonald, former CIRB Data Entry Intern. “I was looking for something that could boost my resume and give me a new experience, and this internship did that for me!”
The opportunities CIRB offers are rather diverse, too – students can apply for internships in data administration, analysis, social media or journalism, to name a few.
“Being a Journalism Intern at the California Homebuilding Foundation (CHF) and Construction Industry Research Board (CIRB) was one of the most valuable and rewarding experiences I have had,” said Nina Nguyen, a former CIRB journalism intern. “From researching and evaluating articles to discovering and learning how to use my journalism voice, the internship prepared me with the experience and knowledge necessary to be successful in the post-grad, professional world.”
Nguyen’s internship with CIRB, combined with her 4.0 GPA while getting her master’s degree, landed her a job as a California Senate Fellow, a highly competitive position that attracts applicants statewide.
The value of an internship or entry-level work experience in college cannot be overstated. As many previous CIRB interns note, these experiences can and very likely will be a deciding factor between themselves and other candidates when it comes to job applications post-grad.
“Before my internship with CIRB, I was struggling to find opportunities in my field,” said Trevon Martin, another former CIRB journalist intern. “After my internship with CIRB, I was able to get into a highly competitive summer program that had over 200 applicants from top universities around the nation.”
But CIRB isn’t just a stepping stone – an internship with the company can evolve into an exciting post-grad career in itself. All CIRB’s current part-time staff are former CIRB interns, according to Joe Sanchez, CIRB’s Research Director. The company offers upward mobility and job opportunities for those who especially enjoy their internships and decide to stick around.
“I started as an unpaid research analyst working two hours a day,” said Tori Reyes, former CIRB intern and Sacramento State student. “I moved up to working as a paid employee for two hours a day. More recently, I moved up again to working four hours a day and am now a senior research analyst.”
Opportunity growth is important for students working internships, as it shows potential employers an individual’s dedication and success in executing their role as an intern or employee.
Overall, the vast majority of former CIRB interns expressed that the experience was educational, positive and a much-needed boost to make their resumes more competitive.
“I would recommend working an internship at CIRB,” said Reyes. “The internship is flexible for students and other people who may be working another job and is a fun and interesting way to get experience and learn about the building industry!”
About The California Homebuilding Foundation
The California Homebuilding Foundation is a California-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization paving the way for scholastic success for the state’s next generation builders and a stronger, healthier homebuilding industry.
About The Construction Industry Research Board
A trusted source of housing statistics since 1954, the CIRB Report publishes residential, commercial and energy efficient building permit statistics from all 539 California jurisdictions with a 99.4% annual data compliance rate.
Marissa Saldivar is an independently contracted writer for The California Homebuilding Foundation. She currently works as an Associate at ALZA Strategies and is a former CIRB Data Journalism Intern.