Every spring, many employers begin the hiring process for summer interns. Even if your degree program does not have an internship graduation requirement, there are numerous benefits working as an intern provides. Not only is an internship a great way to test out possible careers, it is also an ideal way to take the knowledge you have gained as a student and put it into action. An internship will also provide you access to professional networks and connections that could help you land a job.
Internships can be found be found through online sites such as Internships.com, InternMatch and Linkedin, or through professional networks and college job boards. However, finding an internship that is a good fit for you and your future career goals can be difficult. Here are a few tips for finding an internship that is the right fit for you.
Determine your future career goals – Deeply consider what work you would like to do after graduation and determine your future career goals. By knowing more definitely where you want to end up, you will be better able to analyze internship descriptions and know if the work with help you get there.
Utilize your network – Tell your network of friends, family and professors about your goals and what type of internship you are looking for. A network is ideal for spreading the word and connecting you with the right people and organizations.
Volunteer first – By volunteering for an organization prior to applying for an internship, you can get an idea of the type of work you would be doing as an intern. If that work is not something you would be interested in or will not help you meet your career goals, you can begin the process of looking elsewhere.
Express your goals to your supervisor and negotiate – In many cases, an internship may not provide you with the opportunity to get involved in every aspect of the field that interests you. In these cases, explain your goals and interests to your supervisor and ask if you can assist or get more involved with projects that involve these interests. Chances are your supervisor will be impressed by your willingness to learn and find ways to involve you more in these areas.
If you can’t find one, create one – If you still can’t find an internship that is the right fit for you, create it yourself! Determine what type of work you would like to do and find an organization that is willing to allow you to do it. While you may have to volunteer your time with the organization while performing this work, the experience and skills you gain from the experience could be well worth your time.