An internship offers a great way to experience a specific work environment. It's your chance to try a job out, get to know some people and gain experience outside the classroom. Some internships are paid, but many aren't. Even if you don't get paid, internships are well worth the hours because many employers look for experience rather than high grade point averages in applicants.
A good internship may pay off in a full-time job offer after graduation as well.
Where to Find Internships
You can use these and other sources to locate internships.
- Campus career center. Counselors there should know:
- Which area companies offer internships.
- Where previous students have interned.
- Recruiters who know what internships are available.
- Professors and advisors in your major. They often know what's available at places previous students had success.
- Alumni. Alumni from your school, and particularly your program, are a great source for information and referrals.
- Family, friends and acquaintances. Even if someone doesn't work in your career field, they may know someone who does.
- Internet. Check the Web for internship sites like www.internjobs.com.
- Contacts on campus. Other students, professors and department heads may be able to give you a lead on internship opportunities.
Read tips for finding internships.
Make the Most of Your Internship
Once you land an internship, don't just show up and do the minimum required every day. This is the beginning of your future, so make the most of it.
- Learn everything you can about the industry. Ask questions and develop relationships with:
- Other employees.
- Keep busy and look for additional projects. Taking the initiative gives you confidence in your abilities and shows employers what a valuable employee you would be.
- Read what you can about the industry. You may end up in a position to suggest direction and ideas to your coworkers.
- Avoid complaining. Even if you're doing grunt work, you're learning the job.
- Don't be afraid or intimidated. Demonstrate the latest techniques from your classes and be useful to everyone.
- Take advantage of any opportunities that come your way because you're a temporary employee. Management may include you on projects to give you a taste of the real world or to avoid a problem with a permanent employee.
- Ask to attend meetings and events. Watch and learn.
- Be diplomatic. Although it may seem like you have nothing to lose, you never know when you may need to work with these people in the future.
- Make friends with the company superstar. Certain people have a lot of influence in their departments or fields. Learn from them and develop a relationship for the future.