What You Should Know about Internships
Internships are a fun and exciting way for you to explore different career paths and gain hands-on experience in the workforce. These opportunities can allow you to get your foot in the door and establish connections with the companies you want to work for. Some other direct benefits of internships are that they can allow you to:
- Receive academic credit towards your degree.
- Build your network by adding new contacts from the company you intern at.
- Acquire new skills and knowledge.
- Possibly work from an internship position into a full-time position.
- Experiment with working at different companies and in various positions.
Why You Need to Start Preparing Now for an Internship
Programs at many colleges now require students to complete an internship in order to graduate. This is partly because employers are looking to hire individuals who already have work experience in the industry, and colleges want to make sure their graduates are qualified job candidates. To make sure you get a valuable internship, start looking for opportunities as soon as possible. Many employers post internship openings months in advance. These internship positions are becoming more competitive, but they are attainable if you put forth the effort to prepare yourself effectively.
Review Your Program’s Internship Requirements
Before beginning to search for internships, you should first review the internship requirements your college has for your degree. These guidelines can vary from department to department, depending on the major you are pursuing. The internship requirements from your college typically provide you with crucial information such as the minimum number of hours and weeks required for an internship, the amount of academic credits you can receive, and other special guidelines. Following all of these requirements will ensure that you receive credit for your internship and will help to prevent unnecessary problems.
Decide When You Are Available
The next step to finding an internship is to develop a time frame of your availability so that you can clearly know which positions you can apply for. Establish an estimated date for when you could start your internship and when you need to finish. Keep in mind that internships shouldn’t solely be focused on your own needs and wants; employers have needs and expectations as well. Creating a time frame can help employers see if hiring you as an intern will work with their allotted budgets and schedules. When planning, refer back to the minimum number of hours your college requires for an internship in your degree. This will help you organize your time and know exactly how many hours a week you need to work.
Know Where to Look
Once you are aware of your department’s requirements and have established a time frame, you can begin researching and applying for internships that interest you. Internship opportunities can be found through a variety of different sources. Some resources you can use to find results include networking with your college professors, searching companies on ldsjobs.org, requesting informational interviews, reaching out to your contacts on LinkedIn and other social media channels, communicating with your college’s alumni group, attending job fairs, and checking the websites of specific companies. If a company you are interested in doesn’t already offer internship positions, don’t be afraid to ask if a position could be created for you—make an impressive case for how you could contribute to the company, and they may be willing to open a new job for you.
Research Internship Opportunities
Research various industries, companies, and positions that apply to a career path you want to pursue. This is the exciting part of your internship process, where you get to explore some of the opportunities that are available to you in your field. Here are some factors to pay close attention to as you research and apply for internships:
- What skills and education are required for the position?
- Is the position full-time or part-time?
- Is the position remote (meaning you work from home) or on-site?
- What is the work environment like?
- How long is the internship?
- Do you know anyone you could contact who works at the companies you’re interested in?
- Where is the internship located, and would you need to relocate?
- Is the internship paid?
- Does the position fulfill your university’s internship requirements?
Learn to Present Yourself Professionally
Once you have generated a list of internships that you are interested in applying for, the real work comes as you compile your applications and prepare for interviews. Developing a “Me in 30 Seconds” statement and power statements will allow you to confidently showcase your skills and qualifications to a potential employer.
As you follow these tips for internships, you will be able to take advantage of this exciting time in your life and find a position that will help jumpstart your career.