Internships should definitely be an integral part of any college experience because that’s the time to test out whether you like what you are studying enough to actually make a career out of it. This is also the time to make connections and to network so that in the future you will have those valuable references to help land you that dream job. I have had two internships so far and I think it was the best decision of my life to apply for them. I interned at a publishing house for a semester during my third year and in a newsroom during the summer after graduation.
Besides the fact that I now have something to put on my resume, I also gained some valuable insight into the field that I thought I wanted to go into. When I was in university, my program didn’t have a mandatory internship requirement to it. That’s why I never really considered looking for an internship until I was well into my third year and that was a big mistake. Don’t fall into the same trap! Just because your program might not require an internship doesn’t mean you don’t need one. You should start looking for an internship from the very first day you step foot on campus. So here are some tips on how to get that desired internship before time runs out.
- Build your resume by joining clubs and extracurricular activities at school
If you want to become a writer or a journalist it is a must that you join the school newspaper. If you want to go into fashion it might be wise that you participate in the school fashion show. If there is no club that you are interested in or that is in your area, start one!
- Take any opportunity
If you want to intern somewhere that’s difficult to get into, don’t focus all your attention and energy only on getting that internship. It’s important to understand that getting at least some type of experience rather than focusing on something that is out of reach is better in the long run. If you can manage to get an internship every year, it might actually be possible for you to obtain that dream internship after you already have some experience down on your resume.
- Take initiative
Some programs require you to get an internship and have a listing of opportunities mailed out to the students in the program; however, not everyone’s that lucky. It is up to you to find a place that offers internships, reach out to the company, call them, email them, and try to get them to give you a chance. It’s important to be persistent. You have priority when it comes to internships, because companies like to take students rather than graduates, so use this time in school to get that internship.
- Talk to professors
Go to your professors’ office hours. If your program does not offer internships but another program does that relates to your field, go the office hours of the head of the faculty, ask to include you on his/her email list in order to be aware of any opportunities that could be relevant to you. It’s okay to ask for advice from your professors; they are there to help you. Your professor might have a friend in the industry who might need an intern or who can offer other advice.
Getting an internship during your time in university is a must. It is very important to test out whether you actually like the field that you are going into rather than pursuing something that you vaguely know about. Your internship might shine some light on what you actually want to pursue in life, in addition to getting those skills that employers are looking for.