It’s that time in your college life when you make one of your first major steps toward your career: the internship. Luckily, colleges offer so many resources to help you find what you are looking for and get through the seemingly long and tedious process of securing your first job. You can also come up with your own opportunities if you plan ahead, network and take action early in your college career.
A great way to find a solid internship is to visit your career office. Call ahead and see if you have to schedule an appointment. Make sure you ask them what you need to have prepared for your meeting. These could be your resume or samples of work if they are relevant to the type of internship you are applying for. Take some time to go over your resume to remove any spelling or grammar errors. This is great practice for future job hunts and shows the career office that you mean business. If you have samples, invest in an inexpensive but sturdy and attractive portfolio book with clear sleeves. You can find these at Target or any office supply store. Try your best to come in attire that is clean-cut. This helps you feel more in line with the task at hand. A boss of mine always said “dress for the job you want,” even if it’s just a step above what you normally wear at school and is just a meet with a career counselor.
Next, visit sites like internmatch.com and internships.com. These sites specifically cater to college students looking for internship positions and also provide valuable tips and resources to aid you during your search and process. Job sites such as monster.com, and careerbuilder.com also have special sections dedicated to college internships and also provide valuable resources.
Another great way to find internships is to search for local companies you admire in your hometown, school’s town or another place where you know people with whom you can live during your internship. I found a really cool advertising agency in Nashville while I was a junior and worked for them an entire semester. They didn’t have a formal internship but, for a little wage, were interested in having me work with them while they gave me the inside scoop on the inner workings of their agency. That kind of impromptu but rich experience made me feel that my bosses actually shared more with me than most kids might get to experience in a more structured internship. If you go this route, be prepared to have a formal presentation that you either mail or email to the leading person at the company or to the leader of the specific team with whom you’d like to work to help you sell yourself. And don’t be afraid to show up in person (in your most professional attire, of course!) to drop it off.
Internships are everywhere, and the more you research, the more likely you will find one that will give you a fabulous experience and help you know better what you’d like to do in the future. Be open to an internship that may not be everything you expected…sometimes, in the end, it just might be more than you’d dreamed!