Growing up in Portland, ME, Reagan Oliver often heard about Unum as a great place to work. She felt the atmosphere and benefits would help her decide what she wanted to do after graduating from Bentley University. “I knew an internship would be a perfect opportunity to be introduced to a company I potentially wanted to work for post-grad,” said Oliver.
In June 2021, she started interning in the digital technology area. She continued to work part-time during her senior year. After graduating in May 2022, Oliver accepted a full-time position as a digital information technology associate. “Unum’s internship program exceeded my expectations. I didn’t know much about user experience and how analytics contribute to that experience, and now it’s my career,” she said.
The advice she gives new interns is to learn what they can and know why an internship is important to them, “It can give you a clear direction in what you want to do for a career. I gained more technical knowledge through hands-on learning directly with data and tools we use to manage the digital experience.”
Start Looking for Internships Early
Since the summer of 2020, Sam Jinadu has made Colonial Life his work home as a software development intern. He’s a rising senior at Georgia State University who loves soccer, history, art and anything technology.
“My freshman year, I wanted to get ahead with building technical experience. I’ve learned how to operate in an enterprise environment and adapt to changing project needs for completion. Most students don’t get acquainted until later in their career. I learned early,” said Jinadu.
He’s glad the opportunity with Unum came when it did. Jinadu enjoyed his experience because his teammates have been accommodating and helpful. “It makes me feel relaxed and welcome,” he says. Now he can enter his final year of college with a clearer understanding of how to break into the world of software engineering after graduation.
Learn Skills Outside of Your Comfort Zone
When Sharon O’Leary heard about digital technology internship opportunities from her peers at South East Technology University Carlow, she jumped at the chance to become a software test engineer for Colonial Life, a subsidiary of Unum Group. O’Leary lives in Ireland and has spent four months learning about digital transformation. “From my first day, I felt like I belonged and was treated as a valuable member of the team. I’m excited about applying what I learned in college into practice in the real world.”
O’Leary admits to apprehension for her first internship, she said the support and guidance from the beginning were very helpful, “I feel I can never ask too many questions, and there is always someone to help me when I need it.”
She has the foundation in software development from school, but working for a large, agile team on projects to meet the end-users’ needs is what she learned during her internship. “I worked out of my comfort zone and learned about testing from a manual and automated perspective. I also learned how important testing is to the overall final product or software release,” she said.
When it comes to her career progression, her colleagues’ willingness to help and Unum’s work-life balance help sway her to seek a permanent position after graduation.
An internship helps one learn new skills in the work environment and prepares them for the future transition from student to employee.