Career Prep: Internships


Internships are essential for college students and recent grads joining a competitive job market. They offer training, professional development, and valuable networking to expand career opportunities. Students are highly encouraged to do at least one internship before they graduate to strengthen their resumes and set themselves apart from their peers. An internship provides you with a structured learning experience in the work field of your choice. This can range from your area of study to any career interest you may have. There are other important decisions that you need to keep in mind based on what you choose to do. For instance, whether you want to be a paid or unpaid intern, or if you want to work for a big company or a start-up company. No matter the type of internship you choose each with provide you with all of the resources, equipment, and facilities to help make for the best learning experience, but it’s up to the student to apply themselves. These decisions should be carefully thought out so that you make the most of your time.

When to get an internship: College is the most practical and beneficial time to get an internship. Although you can apply for an internship at any time, most students hold off until after their freshman year. This allows time to get acclimated to their new environment and focus on their studies. Internships are offered during the academic year, but also during the summer. Internships do require a lot of time and effort, so if you can’t balance your schoolwork and internship responsibilities the summertime might be the best option for you. The best time to have an internship in the summer following your junior year. At this point, you should have taken enough classes to give you basic knowledge in a specified field. This will likely increase your chances of getting a full-time offer at the conclusion of your time there.

Benefits of getting an internship: As a student, it is important to figure out what you want to do after college. An internship allows you to learn more about what you may be interested and your current field of study. It gives you a more accurate portrayal of what your career path could look that taking a class cannot do. You are given the opportunity to apply what you learned in the classroom to real-life scenarios. Hands-on experience in the work field can make it easier to grasp certain topics. You will begin to improve your current skill sets and develop new ones along the way. Networking is an important skill that will be useful after college. It is important to build relationships with employers, peers and gain references for future use.

Paid vs Unpaid Internships: The main difference between an unpaid intern and a paid intern is obvious. As an unpaid intern, you don’t receive income, but this doesn’t mean what you are doing isn’t worthwhile. If you choose to work as an unpaid intern, there’s a good chance it can count as credit for school. Some college programs even require this in order to graduate. This experience is meant to benefit the intern, so legal actions are required to make sure that unpaid interns don’t get taken advantage of. For instance, communication between the employer and intern is necessary before starting an internship. This allows them to gain a mutual understanding that the intern will not be getting paid, along with recognizing that after the conclusion of their internship the intern may not be entitled to a job. Paid interns, on the other hand, do receive income. They can use the money earned towards their tuition and other expenses, which can benefit them financially in the future.

How to find an internship: There are several ways to get started. One of the first resources you should use is your college career center. It is typical for colleges to post internship positions on their job boards and provide internship workshops for students to attend. It is also important to take advantage of friends, family members, and former employers to see if they have any internship opportunities available. Newspapers, newsletters and job fairs can also expose you to internships opportunities that might interest you and fit your needs.

During your time as an intern make sure that what you are doing is worthwhile. Set goals at the beginning of your internship and make sure you accomplish them by the end of your time there. Measure your progress and document your work. As you go along keep track of what have learned and take notes. If you follow these tips you will be sure to gain something from your experience.