This is a guest post by Austin on the power of internship. You can read the guidelines to guest posting at our write for us page.
Laying the foundation for a promising career begins with a good education and a healthy amount of motivation, but it doesn’t end there. An internship with a reputable company or, firm can give you the boost you need to earn job experience, build a professional network, and learn skills that you can’t acquire in college.
Get the most out of your Internship
But landing an internship isn’t easy: you’ll have to make yourself stand out among the competition. You’ll also have to make sure that you showcase your education and skills in ways that are easily accessible to potential employers. With a few tips, you can make your internship into a valuable and powerful experience.
It is important that you do not just do it for the heck of doing. These simple tips can help you get the most out of your internship.
Apply early for your internship
The early bird gets the worm—and the early applicant can often land the internship he wants most. Like full-time jobs, internships are often very competitive, and depending on the field you’re going into, the number of open slots may be small. Work with your school’s career center and your school program’s chair or department head to learn about internship opportunities as soon as they’re announced.
Starting a network of professional contacts can give you an edge as well: making connections at school functions and job fairs, and checking in with companies or firms you’re interested in working for can make you stand out in a crowd of resumes and online portfolios.
Keep your options open
Of course, there may be an internship that will help open doors for you and could lead to a fulfilling future. But you’re not the only person who’s coveting that job, so make sure you apply to a wide range of internships.
Applying to different types of internships can also help you diversify your interests and career plans: if you are, for instance, a graphic design student with a love for public service, you might consider applying for an internship at a non-profit organization that needs help with web or brochure design.
Harness the power of the Internet
Not every college or university has a career center, and some students might have to conduct an internship search on their own. If you’re at a school without internship help or you’re enrolled in an online degree program, the Internet can be one of your most valuable resources.
Internship websites—like job search engines—offer listings, tips and message boards for students searching for internship opportunities. InternWeb lists paid and unpaid internships for college students and new graduates. And Experience.com has listings for both internships and entry-level jobs, which can be used as a stepping stone to a better career for college students. Experience.com is also connected with LinkedIn, which can help you build relationships and create opportunities with your existing professional and educational networks.
Internship – your course of action
Securing an internship can be one of the most important things you do in your college career—so you owe it to yourself to get it right. Start early, apply to a number of different internship opportunities, and make sure you build and maintain your social and professional networks. The right internship can be your first step toward the right career path for you.