A summer internship is one of best things a college student can do to prepare for a future job. Looking at it from every way, it is a win situation. Getting started, however, can be difficult. There are two major questions most people ask when looking for an internship: “Where do I find one?” And “How do I make the most out of it?”
It’s a way to “try on” a career with no commitment. It is an opportunity to sample a career. Since it is just a summer long stint, if it isn’t right it will be over in a couple of months anyways. There are no contracts to break, no jobs to quit, no mess. In August it’s a simple “Thanks for the opportunity” and walk away without looking back. However, all internships don’t end that way. Some students love their internships and it gives them really good guidance to what kind of career they want to chase
Where to Look for Internships
There are dozens of online databases featuring internships. A quick Google search for newspaper internships or business internships or whatever field an internship is desired for what bring up lots of matches. Monster has an internship site, as well as Career rookie. There are many other sites, including College Grad and Campus Internships.
Also, almost every college or university has some sort of career center. The staffs within the centers are dedicated to helping students find internships and jobs. Another very good route is word of mouth! Send out an email to every family member, friend or acquaintance expressing interest in an internship and see if anyone has a connection!
How to Make the Most out of an Internship
Go into it with an open mind. Often times, interns find themselves working in an environment in which they have no familiarity with. That’s OK. This is the opportunity to learn. Don’t be afraid to speak up and voice needs and concerns. Consider it a safe haven. Jump in, make mistakes and learn along the way!
Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask employers what they hope to gain from having the internship, to better understand what will be expected. Ask a lot of questions, shake everyone’s hand, and remember, at the end of the day it is only temporary. Even if it is awful it is a good experience and it will be over soon.
Opportunities After Internships
Often times, if the company has the availability and the intern does a good job, he or she can be offered a chance to come back for a second summer. Sometimes interns even get offered full time jobs upon graduation! Interns who are successful in their internship also usually walk away with lots of information, contacts, and references for future jobs. Most importantly, however, that internship will look great on a resume.
For those with lingering questions, College Board offers a good informative site for internships. If an internship opportunity arises, go for it. The people who get offered the jobs they want out of college usually had an internship it college. It is no doubt the best way to starting moving a career forward.