At some point in your educational journey, you’re going to hear about internships and how they can lay the foundation for gaining experience and possibly a job once you graduate. Honestly, in today’s climate you really can’t afford NOT to have an internship (or at least extensive volunteer experience) to demonstrate you have the skills and knowledge employers are looking for.
Getting an internship is not easy. Matter of fact, it can be downright frustrating when those offers don’t come rolling in. The key is in being prepared and applying for the right ones. The first question you should ask yourself is, “Are you qualified?” While it’s cool applying for internships that interest you, what will you bring to the table? It’s always best to start based on what you know and the experience you’ve already gained. Consider this:
- Your major
What are you studying? You should be aiming for an internship in that field.
What have you done, and how can that add value to an internship you have your eye on?
- What can you do?
Transferable skills that work across multiple fields can make a difference. Are you good at time management? Organization? Research the jobs in your major that can use the skills you already have.
- Your interests
What makes you smile? If you had to work for free, what type of job would it be? Those are the types of internships you should be applying for (although it’s great to get paid).
It’s important to know where to look for these types of internships. Job sites post internship opportunities all the time. Your school should also have a resource center to aid or point you in the right direction. Plug into your network! Now is not the time to be shy – who do you know? What types of connections do your family and friends have? It’s also good to contact companies you are interested in directly. You can write them a letter of interest, or if it’s local, stop by and introduce yourself. What could it hurt?
You’ll never know how far you can go or whether you have a shot at that dream internship if you don’t try. It’s time to get busy.