One of the most important things you can do in college is to find an internship that allows you to reinforce what you’re learning in the classroom in a real-world setting. The purpose of an internship is to allow you to learn about the industry you’re studying and give you a glimpse into what you can expect in the future.
Looking for an internship can be challenging, given the current COVID landscape, but here are five tips that can help:
- Prepare. Prepping for an internship starts long before filling out the application for the position. Your internship preparation should start in the classroom as soon as possible. This simply means start forming meaningful connections with your professors, peers and advisors. Not only will these individuals provide insight into their careers, but they also have relationships with professionals within the industry who could possibly help network an internship or allow for other learning opportunities. These relationships can be formed by staying after class to have a discussion with your professor or by joining different clubs that your university may offer that revolve around your major or a mentoring program. These connections will assist you when it comes to looking for opportunities within the industry.
- Apply. When it comes time to apply for internships, it’s best to apply for anything and everything revolving around your major; do not be closed-minded in terms of the size of the company or the industry they serve. With internships, there is no such thing as looking too early. You should always be on the lookout for internship opportunities and seek out roles that suit your current skills or education level.
- Experience. After obtaining an internship, the most important things you can do to make the most out of your experience is to ask questions, have a positive attitude and always keep your eyes and ears open! Take advantage of your time with the company and ask questions regarding the projects you’re completing, the company you’re working for and your coworkers’ experiences within the industry. Most of the time, your coworkers will be more than happy to discuss their career paths and eager to give you any guidance that you are seeking. Maintaining a positive and professional attitude throughout your internship is essential to your success within the company. You can display your positive attitude by always accepting the assignments you’re given, no matter how small or large, and by showing you genuinely care about the work you’re completing. You should also always take advantage of any opportunity to help you stand out from the rest of your peers.
- Learn. Some of the best learning opportunities during an internship come from being in an environment where more-experienced professionals are working. An intern can benefit greatly from simply sitting in an office and listening to the conversations that are taking place around them. You can learn how to talk to clients, expand your industry-specific vocabulary and hear how professionals handle different challenges. Observe your surroundings and reflect on how you can apply what you’ve learned to your projects or how they can benefit you in the future.
- Develop. Overall, internships are an essential part of one’s professional career. They give you the ability to develop in your career, build your resume and get a glimpse of what your future could hold.
Applying for an internship can be intimidating but, in the end, the experience you receive from it is irreplaceable.