An internship is a very important part of any college experience. It give you the opportunity to find out what it is like to work in a particular field before you graduate. For some, it can re-enforce the desire to build a career in the industry, while for others, it can make them realize that they may not be happy in their chosen field and give them time to pursue other options before graduation. Whichever way it goes, it is an invaluable experience and a chance to create real world contacts within the industry. These contacts can be an excellent resource when entering the job market after graduation.
Employers also recognize the importance of attracting great interns. Through a successful internship program, they can find and nurture talent, ensuring that they will better be able to attract the best new entries into the market.
So how do you find a great internship? Here are a few tips:
- Network, network, network- Make sure that you take advantage of any networking activities available on your college campus. Job fairs, alumni events and seminars can be great places to meet professionals in your chosen industry who may be able to give you leads on great internships. Don't discount the importance of successful alumni who may be able to help you get a foot in the door for some of the more coveted internships.
- Create a strong resume- Use your college's writing lab or other resources to help you create the best resume possible. You want to focus on your strengths and highlight your accomplishments and your passion for the industry.
- Have a strong professional network- Throughout college, you should have been building a social and professional network. If you haven't, be sure to create a Linkedin profile and actively look for companies in your industry who have internships available. Post your internship search on all of your social networking sites and ask for any leads or advice.
- Research companies- Decide what companies you would love to intern at and do some research on them. Find out if they have an internship program and what it takes to qualify. Then, check your professional network and even an alumni directory to see if you know anyone, or know anyone who knows someone who works for those companies. If you can't find any information about an internship program, it doesn't hurt to contact the company and ask to be their intern. They may say no, but you haven't ended up any worse off because of it.
How did you find your internship? Was your experience a good one? A bad one? If you could do it again, what would you do differently? Let me know in the comments.
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By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.