As we get into the middle or end of our college career, the time comes to start searching for an internship. I am currently going through this process, and it can definitely be a stressful one. However, getting an internship is a great way to “test the waters” in your particular field. You gain real-life experience, add to your resume, and in most cases, you can earn credit toward your degree. During my internship search, I have learned a few things that will help you to land a great internship.
Before you begin your search, you need to have a resume. The Career Services here on campus will help you to put together a resume if you are struggling. Your resume needs to be very strong because this is what potential employers see first. In addition, most of the time, this will determine if you get an interview for the position. There are also many online resume builders that will help to format your resume correctly.
Once you have created a resume, it is time to begin the search. Speak to teachers, family, friends, former employees, coaches — anyone that you can think of — and ask them for contacts in your field of interest. Get a hold of these individuals because creating contacts and connections can get you far.
If the college that your program is in has an internship coordinator, start there. They will give you some listings of internship opportunities around the area that you may be interested in.
I went to the internship coordinator for the School of Communication, Andrea Ferrera, and she was a huge help. After all the searching and interviews, she helped me to get an internship for the summer at the Autism Society of Greater Akron.
Another great way to find internships is to search online. I found lots of internships that way, and most of them make it very convenient to apply online. If you put into the search bar “internships,” tons of websites with internship listings will come up, and then you can zoom into the openings in the area.
A website that was really helpful for me was Internweb.com. You are able to advance search so you can specify location, industry, job function and time of year.
Now for some of the logistics on internships: They can be paid or unpaid. Do not turn away from internships just because they are unpaid. Although it is inconvenient, nothing can beat the experience you will gain, and the more experience, the better!
Another thing about internships is that some of them are worth college credit. This is very nice because just think — it is one less class you have to take.
Once you are offered an internship, make sure you understand what is being expected from you before you accept it. Discuss things with the internship sponsor first, just to ensure that you will be able to fulfill all of the duties that will be expected of you. This will help to create a positive experience for both you and the company.
I hope with these tips and insight, you will not be afraid to go out and get that internship. It is a great stepping stone to a rewarding career. Happy searching!