Beyond the Books
How to Find Your Ideal Internship Program
Employers often request that college graduates have "real world" experience, and internships are one of the best ways to achieve that.
Internships provide an opportunity to experiment and pursue careers that match your academic and personal interests.
Internships Are Important Career Builders
Internships can give you your firsthand on-the-job experience. Choosing an ideal internship program goes a long way in launching your career. However, it's important to make sure that the internship you choose matches your academic and personal interests.
Let's go through a few things that can help you find your ideal internship.
Define Your Internship and Career Goals
An internship is a great tool to help you define your career goals. For example, are you interested in investment banking? Try to get an internship with some banks with strong investment components. Are you interested in social activism? You might consider an internship with a local or state politician or you could seek out a charity or an activist group like Greenpeace.
If you are interested in art, then an internship with an art museum or advertising agency may be perfect. Internships are useful since they give you excellent exposure and the chance to explore new and exciting career fields.
Ask yourself why you want to do the internship. What do you want to gain from it? It could be a lot of different things such as gaining entry into the organization, networking and learning the field.
Be clear about the type of company you want to do your internship with. Organizations are of different sizes and shapes, from Fortune 500 to not-for-profit.
Choosing the right company can make a lot of difference when you are ready to write your resume.
Choose an industry that best suits your needs. Even when you know exactly what you want to do, you can still be uncertain about the type of industry that best suits you. Interning helps you identify this or clear up misconceptions that you may have about yourself.
Where and when do you want to intern (geographically)? Do you want to do this during a summer break or do you want to devote a whole semester or year to it? Decide this before you begin your search for an internship.
Internships are usually unpaid, although some pay is associated with some of them. In this matter, you are expected to be thoroughly professional. Financial constraints may be a deciding factor in your choice of an internship.
Search for the Internship of Your Choice
It is important to set aside enough time to locate and apply for rewarding internships. Work with a career counselor, speak with faculty members, review career resources, check out the classified ads for potential employers, and check with college alumni; these are some of the best sources for internships.
Internship programs are highly competitive. Treating this as a job and following up after the interview will benefit you. Create a good resume and covering letter. Polish your interviewing skills. Follow up after the interview. Be persistent but not annoying to land the internship you want.
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