Monday, May 5th 2014
Summer internships are exciting opportunities for students to discover themselves and gain valuable work experience. They can set you up for college and career exploration. The right internship can be an immersive experience that allows students the opportunity to explore a certain field, meet a network of professionals, strengthen communication skills, understand office life, and—hopefully—earn some spending money. Students should look for internships that are organized and that provide opportunities to partake in as many aspects of the business or opportunity as possible. It’s important to be in an environment where observation and learning are encouraged, along with hands-on experience, even when there are rote or administrative tasks to get done.
How to get the internship you want? Start early. Internships can be competitive and can fill up quickly. Be sure to research and start the process in advance so you don’t miss any important deadlines. Be proactive. Try to create your own opportunities at firms or organizations you admire. Employers like to see students who know what they want and who will work toward a goal. Make sure to ask questions, follow up with interviewers, and offer additional information or references so that companies can get a good sense of who you are. And be sure to leave on a positive note. After the internship ends, ask for a reference for yourself while memories of your experience there are fresh in their minds.
Didn’t get the internship? Learn from the experience. Ask your interviewer how you could have improved your chance of scoring the internship, or if you can get in touch next year. And if earning money is not a requirement, consider offering to be a shadow or volunteer your time for a short time; the actual experience could help you build contacts, grow your personal network, and provide a valuable experience for your future.
Originally published as a guest article for knowsymoms.com.