Everyone seems to believe that internships are the key to building a successful career. Can you disagree? There is no better way to learn, apply what you’ve learned, develop your skills, and prepare for your dream job.
The Benefits of Internships for College Students
A recent study published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers actually proves that most students who complete full-paid internships end up landing the job they wanted, in their field of study, and paid at a level they find satisfactory.
The study was quite comprehensive, looking at the satisfaction levels of two generations of students, 2010 and 2015 graduates, at both paid and unpaid internships, and covering even the opinion of employers who accepted and monitored internships.
The study showed there are no significant differences between students who complete paid and unpaid internships.
But long-term full-time internships weigh heavier in the eyes of employers than short-term and part-time ones.
As a student in a field that really interests you, with a family to support you or a scholarship to cover your expenses, the best thing you can do is complete a full-time internship program.
- Get you additional credits in college
- Help you learn the trade better than any theory classes or seminars
- Turn into a great full-time job after graduation
- Look good in your curriculum
- Let you evaluate your employer and your own performance and satisfaction in the respective field.
Otherwise put, if you make a good impression as an intern, the employer may decide to keep you and offer you a good job. If the job offer does not come or does not live up to your expectations, the internship will weigh heavily in your curriculum and maybe help you find a great job with a different employer.
In the worst-case scenario, the internship will prove you are not cut out for the job or you don’t like it and will give you a chance to try something else.
But what happens when the internship doesn’t bring you additional credits, and you cannot support yourself through university?
How do you put up with the full-time schedule and the “unpaid” part? With this in mind, I’d like to change the message all sources seem to send to:
“Internships are great, but you owe it to yourself to find the best one for your particular needs and situation”.
How to Find the Best Internship Position for Your Needs?
1. Know Your Field of Interest, Area, and Companies
There’s nothing worse than investing months or years of your time doing something you don’t like and you’re not good at.
If you want to keep your motivation and use your internship as a launching platform for your career, you need to start in the right field, in the right place, from the right position, within the right company.
Take as long as you need to review your passions, skills, and expectations, and only start hunting for internships when you know what you want.
You should also decide if you want and can afford to accept unpaid positions, or they have to be paid.
2. Prepare Your Resume and Cover Letter
It does not matter if you apply for a job or an internship. The employer will want to know who you are, what you know, and what you can do.
It can be challenging to put together a good resume when you have no job experience, so here is an interesting article from The Balance that may help you.
Just remember that volunteering, babysitting, or helping your parents with their business counts as well.
Also, your employer wants to know everything relevant to your work potential, not how much you drink, what movies you watch, or what a great dancer you are.
It helps to show you took an interest in their company, so do your homework and make it obvious that you did.
3. Spread the Word
Recent research shows that 43% of interns find out about their position from friends and family.
Over 90% of interns believe connections matter more than grades.
Perhaps your close ones don’t know much about internships, but you lose nothing by asking, or at least letting them know what your plans are.
4. Search for Internship Offers Online
Yes, once again, the Internet of Things can provide the solution you are looking for.
All it takes is to know where to look. While local ads and job websites may be worth checking as well, College Magazine recommends the following internship websites:
5. Look for Advice and Opportunities at Your College’s Career Center
Although only 21% of students report their college career center as the source of their internship lead, if the two methods suggested above don’t pay off, you lose nothing by trying.
Go there, tell them what you want, and hear them out.
6. Review the Offers You Have, and Narrow down Your List
If you’ve followed the tips above, you should already have several internship offers or at least leads. When choosing the best one, consider company reputation, future career perspectives, and payment opportunities.
Your future should matter more than the money you get for the internship.
However, some companies pay their interns loads of money according to CNBC, and it wouldn’t hurt to become one of them.
7. Check with Your University Which Internships They Credit, and Make Your Choice
If you’re playing the intern anyway, why not get some extra credits for college as well?
You would have to discuss your options with your college supervisor, to see what internship they would approve, and under what circumstances.
The Bottom Line About Internships
To draw the line, internships are indeed a big deal. They can help you earn more credits, get a better job, and make a better living doing what you love.
However, in order to make the most of them, you have to be really committed, choose a field and a profession you like, and work hard.
If you don’t, you could find yourself switching jobs every couple of months and struggling to survive from one paycheck to another.
I sincerely hope that won’t be your case, and I wish you the best of luck finding and obtaining the best internship program for your interests, needs, skills, and expectations.
When you do, don’t hesitate to share your internship adventure in a comment, to help others learn from it! Do not forget to subscribe to us for more interesting content. Happy subscribing!