The following resources can help students find an internship that will help them excel in their future careers.
Ways College Students are Landing Internships Right Now
This is a great first step, and you’ve probably heard it almost systematically since your first day on campus. What no one tells you, though, is how to succeed at it. Before you start networking, have your 30-second elevator pitch ready. A first impression goes a long way when a potential employer now has your phone number or email.
Handshake makes it easy to discover all kinds of employment opportunities, including paid internships. Found the perfect opportunity? In most cases, the platform even works in conjunction with your college or university’s career services center to ensure your application is top notch. Sending in your resume and cover letter for review prior to applying is just one of the many benefits you can enjoy on Handshake.
Attend Career Fairs
Pick out your best “business formal” wear, print several resumes, and attend an on-campus career fair. Employers like to visit campuses to find talented students. Some even offer interviews on the spot!
Do you have a skill you enjoy that you think you could get paid for? Is it a talent that’s transferable to your anticipated career path? Try freelancing! There are several sites you can choose from including UpWork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com for remote work. It’s not for everyone, but can you imagine how successfully starting a freelancing business during college could impact your professional career and exposure? Diversifying how and where you work can also be crucial to prepare for the future of work, especially when you consider that experts estimate that 50% of all employees will begin working remotely within the next few years.
At the risk of ending on a clichéd note, it’s important to exude confidence. A behavior often synonymous with decision-making, assertion, and maturity, confidence is coveted and highly valuable to employers everywhere.
A Guide To Finding an Internship During College
College is the ideal time to gain the knowledge and experience needed to prepare you for a new career. While it is a transition time into adulthood where critical thinking and a broader sense of learning is acquired, traditionally it is also where moves to start a career are made. For this reason, attending college and acquiring an internship often go hand in hand. In fact, it might even be a requirement for your major or at least a way to earn school credit.
Even if not required, completing an internship while in college gives you exposure to the workforce, develops your skills and begins to fill out your resume so that acquiring work is easier for you later. In this article, we explore the benefits of completing an internship in college, describe how to get an internship and list some tips for successfully completing an internship while in school.
The benefits of starting an internship in college
- Though internships are only considered a requirement for certain positions and industries, they are beneficial in virtually every field and can be a great way to create an impressive resume that stands out among other candidates as you enter the job market. Some of the other advantages of completing an internship during college include that they often allow you to:
- Become familiar with working in a professional setting. Even if you have had jobs in the past, they were likely quite different from the day-to-day operations of your chosen professional career. An internship is a great way to gain exposure to a professional setting and learn how to interact with clients and colleagues.
- Apply the skills and knowledge you learn in college. Internships often allow you to utilize the strategies and skills that you have learned in your college courses. Being able to apply your knowledge in real-life situations can help you further develop your expertise and reinforce the concepts you’ve learned.
- Learn your likes and dislikes. An internship gives you an opportunity to discover if you enjoy certain jobs without the long-term commitment associated with accepting employment. Using these experiences, you can narrow your career goals and gain some valuable professional direction.
- Gain on-the-job training. There are often quite a few job functions that require more than the theoretical knowledge that you learn in school. Internships provide you with experiences that you might face in your career and training in specific procedures, systems or protocols that you can only learn on the job.
- Find employment after graduation. Internships are often a great way to gain employment after graduation because they demonstrate to employers that you have some experience in the field. Additionally, many internships lead to employment opportunities with the company you’re interning with. Employers usually actively assess their interns so that they can determine whether they would make a good permanent addition to the team.
- Develop your confidence. Because you’re able to gain hands-on experience and learn under skilled professionals in the industry, internships can make you a more confident candidate. Possessing confidence in your abilities is important as you prepare your resume and cover letter and begin interviewing for positions.
- Discover your strengths and weaknesses. Evaluating your strengths and weaknesses can be difficult outside of an applicable professional setting. As an intern, you can look for aspects of your skill set that you need to improve, discover what sets you apart from other candidates and learn which attributes make you an asset.
How to get an internship in college
In order to find an internship while you’re still in school, you should follow these simple steps:
- Evaluate your career goals. Before beginning your search for an internship, you should assess your professional goals so that you can determine what kind of positions and companies would provide you with the most relevant experience. You can then use this information to focus your search and narrow the results.
- Create space in your class schedule. Most internships are offered during the summer as well as during the school year. Depending on when you decide to complete an internship and your course load, you’re going to need to accommodate for the hours spent working as an intern. It’s typically a good idea to create a class schedule that gives you two or three days a week where you’re free.
- Prepare your application materials. Spend some time developing a resume and cover letter that highlight your experience, education and skills. Depending on the field you’re entering, it might be helpful to also create an online portfolio that showcases your work. Additionally, you should create a professional social media profile and evaluate your personal accounts so that you can delete any inappropriate images or captions.
- Explore internship opportunities. You can usually find internships using a number of methods. For example, many students search for job listings in their area and industry, but you can also speak with professors, peers, coworkers, family members, friends and alumni about potential opportunities that meet your interests. Additionally, if you know of a company or companies that you’d love to intern with, you can contact them directly and express your interest.
- Get help from career services. Most colleges have a career services center where you can get guidance about your resume and even find internship opportunities. Utilizing this resource can help you locate a great internship and improve your chances of getting hired.
- Attend career fairs. Career fairs give you the chance to meet hiring managers in person, allowing you to make a connection that improves the chances of your application standing out.
- Practice interviewing. Just like with any other job, you usually have to attend an interview before you’re offered a position. These interviews give employers the chance to compare the abilities and personalities of top candidates, so it’s imperative that you appropriately prepare beforehand. Some great ways to do this are by researching the company, analyzing the job description and rehearsing possible answers to commonly asked questions.
- Follow up with the internship coordinator. Sending an email or note to the interviewer thanking them for their time and consideration demonstrates that you are thoughtful, organized and motivated. You should send your thank-you note within 24 hours of your meeting. Make sure to mention something specific from the interview and end with a brief call to action. For example, you could say, “Please reach out if you need any more information from me.”
Tips for completing an internship while in school
Here are some tips to ensure you make a great impression and get the most out of your internship experience:
- Clarify the expectations for your role. Making sure that you have a clear understanding of your responsibilities gives you the chance to meet and exceed expectations. It’s usually best to get an outline of your role in writing.
- Ask thoughtful questions. As you transition into your internship position, ask relevant questions so that you can learn as much as you can about the job as quickly as possible.
- Get feedback about your performance. Scheduling regular meetings with your supervisor helps ensure that expectations are being met for both parties.
- Behave professionally. It’s vital that you make a great impression, so show up on time, dress appropriately and speak professionally to every member of the team.
- Ask for a letter of recommendation. Your internship supervisor is a great professional contact that can provide you with a reference for future opportunities.