One word we hear quite frequently in college is – “Internship”. Whether we are freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors, being in college without hearing the word “internship” is impossible. Why? Well, for starters, many majors require completing an internship. Even if you don’t have to do one, chances are you’ve through about it to give yourself an advantage when applying for jobs. I get it – the word “internship” can be scary for a lot of people due to the overwhelming feeling of being thrown into an adult job while wondering if we are ready or not. The thought of internships may be scary; however, there are quite a few positive aspects to them. More importantly, I am here to tell you why internships can be a good thing and also give you advice on how to secure them. Though I am not an expert, the same advice I am going to give you is the same advice I followed to secure my internship for this upcoming summer.
First things first, whenever you do hear the word, “internship,” try not to panic. Internships are overwhelming, but they can help you figure out what kind of job is right for you–or isn’t right for you. If you are interested in a particular career, the classes your major offers compared to the experience can be entirely different in a positive or negative way. More importantly, if you take an internship and realize the career is not for you (which happens more than one would think), you still have time to change majors and find something that does interest you. Internships can also provide you with more valuable experience that another possible candidate may not have. Though job experience is required for almost any job, employers will then look at who has more experience in different areas like volunteer work or internships.
Depending on your chosen career, some jobs require earlier or multiple internships than to others. For example, people wanting to go into the medical field (doctors, surgeons, nurses) may choose to do more than one internship throughout their undergrad college years. Or, maybe want to experience different work settings, job responsibilities, or types of cities. In any case, doing more than one internship is always a good option. Since I have provided you with reasons why internships can be a good thing, how about some advice on how to secure one?
- Update your resume. I don’t only mean to update your resume with the purpose of having the correct information, but also of ensuring that your unique qualities, skills and experience have been highlighted. If there’s a particular skill you have that may help you stand out more than someone else, make sure it’s listed. If you have volunteered more times than you can count, make sure it’s there. When updating your resume, it’s important to make the resume stand out. Resumes provide a detailed background about what you have done before the job for which you’re applying, but they also should help the employer see how unique you are as an individual. You could also check an article written by one of our bloggers, Trishnee, about resumes and when to use them.
- Research until your fingers don’t work anymore. Finding the right internship is about researching which career you want to work in and how you get into that job. Unfortunately, internships don’t just come to you, which means, you have to do the job of looking for them. With the help of websites like Wayup and Internships.com and academic advisors, finding the right internship can be a little easier. Don’t settle for an internship you may not like just because there’s a deadline or you’re tired of looking. Researching for the right internship is almost as important as the internship itself.
- Contact whoever you can, as many times as you can. Many of you may have heard “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know” which is true to some extent. However, that shouldn’t discourage you from not doing the proper research and learning. That being said, if you know someone in the field you want to go into, ask them for help or advice. If you know someone who knows someone in your field or area of interest, don’t be afraid to reach out. If you know police officers, shadow them. If you know psychiatrists, ask them to hire you temporarily. If you know a doctor, ask them if they know of any hospitals or medical centers that are hiring interns. Don’t be afraid to ask because you never know what you might find.
These tips to help you secure an internship – whether it be summer, winter or fall – may overwhelm you or seem quite broad, but the rest is up to you. Whether you’re new to internship or have been around the block a few times, be sure to check out the workshop Launch Your Career: Strategies for Securing Your Internship or Job, where you can get advice on how to focus your search and get results.
Again, though I am not an expert, I followed my own advice and have secured a summer internship. I did my research, used my resources, and have secured an internship in Colorado Springs, CO. I reached out to my uncle, a psychiatrist, and let him know I was interested in a summer internship. We worked something out, and I will be working from May to July in his office. I am currently studying Human Development/Family Studies and Criminal Justice, hoping to become a marriage/family therapist while dealing with situations like divorce and family issues in the courtroom. My uncle’s office provides psychiatric help while going to court to assist families and married couples. I’m happy to say my effort paid off and I can’t wait to start my internship. I can only speak for myself, but my advice is if you follow these tips, there’s no doubt you’ll end up being able to secure your own internship for this upcoming summer!
Georgina, aka Gina, is currently a junior at IU, majoring in family studies and sociology. Raised in Phoenix, AZ and South Bend, IN, she couldn’t be happier to be at IUB! Her passions include dance, working out, cooking, and spending time with friends, bf, family, and her cat Shadow. She plans to become a Marriage & Family therapist while working with issues like racism and inequality. Fun fact: she can’t start her day without a nice cup of coffee…or three, but who’s counting?