January 17, 2018

The ins and outs of internships

The ins and outs of internships - Photo copyright Rick Sherrell

From the moment you start college until you land your dream job, you will probably hear a lot of talk about internships. The low or non-existent pay and the difficulty of finding a good internship can deter many students. However, in this competitive job market, internships have evolved from an added bonus to your resume to a more serious requirement for many jobs. According to a National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, nearly 50 percent of employers would like to see an internship on a student’s resume. The good news is that internships don’t have to be a struggle. Embrace the opportunity to take a break from studying and lugging around your textbooks for a chance to get real world experience as an intern.

Pros of Having an Internship

Opportunity to Network – Who you know is almost as important as the training and education you receive from your college degree. Internships give you a unique opportunity to build relationships with business professionals that can ultimately help you land the job of your dreams through mentorships and recommendations. An internship is also a great way to get your foot in the door of a company.

Valuable Real-Life Experience – While reading, exams, and lectures are the foundation of college learning, getting hands-on experience has unparalleled value. Internships are a great way to gain the necessary experience many companies require without having to wait until your first job begins. Many colleges also offer academic college credit for internships in a student’s field of study, making even unpaid internships extremely valuable.

Career Path Assistance – While many students go into college knowing what they want to major in and ultimately the career they want to have, it is perfectly normal for a student to not know until later in his or her college career. Because most internships are flexible and temporary, they offer a great opportunity to work in different industries to see if they are a good fit.

How to Find an Internship

Ask Around – Many companies actively reach out to colleges to find the best interns for their programs. With that being said, some of the most sought after internships can be extremely difficult to land. Establish a good relationship with your professors and let them know that you are actively searching for an internship. Also ask friends, family members, coaches, and any other business professionals you know to alert you of any potential internship opportunities. Lastly, if you meet someone who has a job that you would enjoy doing, don’t be afraid to ask them what steps they took to get their position. They may have great advice, leads, or even know of an internship opportunity.

Utilize Campus Services – Many college campuses have free career services available to students. These services can help you learn where and how to look for positions, how to network, how to write a resume and cover letter, and even how to figure out your career interests. Remember, your college tuition pays for these free services, so be sure to utilize them while they are available to you.

Use the Web – Technology has simplified the task of searching for jobs and internships. Utilize job and internship search boards, websites, and email lists. Social media can play a role in your search as well. Use platforms like LinkedIn and even Twitter to find people you are interested in connecting with.

While the added work of an internship can be stressful at times, the experience gained is priceless and can help in your future career. Successfully completing an internship can be one of the most valuable experiences of your college years.

About the Author: Lindsay Traiman writes on behalf of Skyo, an online site for renting or buying cheap textbooks with a variety of flexible rental options. Visit www.skyo.com today to buy textbooks online and find advice on Skyo’s college blog.

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