Internships — a valuable way to get ahead!
Taking advantage of internships while you're still in school has a lot of rewards. If you're a college or high school student doing an internship search, finding and landing the right internship can give you a real edge when getting started on your career.
One of the most important advantage is the ability to find out if the career you're considering is really right for you. As valuable as research and theory can be, there's no substitute for actually witnessing and participating in the daily routine. Internships can help you become familiar with the duties of many different people in an organization, which can help narrow your focus and let you decide if the career you dream of is the right career for you. Paid internships, or those associated with scholarship programs, provide additional benefits to students.
Internships also provide value when you're looking for a job after graduation. Employers are apt to give additional consideration to candidates with internships on their resumés. References and recommendations from those you worked with in an internship also carry more weight than a job working retail or fast food! Not to mention that the opportunities to network can also increase your chance at landing the job you want, as former associates give you leads or mention your name in the right place at the right time.
An internship search will reveal that there are many kinds of internships available. Some are primarily summer internships, and often involve working full-time with a company or organization. Others might last a semester or even an entire year, involving the students who are working around their class schedules. And while there are many paid internships available, roughly fifty-five percent of internships are unpaid - where the most immediate benefit is the knowledge that you obtain by working in the real world and seeing professionals in your chosen field in action.
According to Vault, Inc, nearly three-quarters of all college students today do some form of internship - make sure that you're one of them!
Internship Search Tips
Landing the Internship
During your interview, there are some things to keep in mind to help you land that coveted internship!
- Do your homework on the company before going in. Know what it produces and its goals and expectations. Recruiters appreciate the extra initiative and research.
- Consider what you can bring to the company. Know your own strengths and try to imagine how they can fit into the organization. Experience in clubs, organizations and volunteer work in both high school and college are things to start thinking about.
- Make sure that you're on time! Don't miss out on a valuable internship opportunity because of traffic or other unforeseen delays - budget your commute time appropriately and try to arrive a few minutes early!
While you can't prepare for everything that might happen during your internship interview, keep an open mind about what to expect. Some companies have peer interviews, ask you to demonstrate skills or try to see how you think outside the box with techniques such as puzzles, games or word association.
An internship is like any other job interview - recruiters are looking for enthusiasm, eye contact, answers to their questions and a positive attitude.
At the end of the interview, make sure to follow-up with a handshake and a thank you. Mailing a brief thank you letter soon after the interview is not only a courtesy, it can bring your name to the forefront of the recruiter's mind.
Best of luck getting the internship you want!
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