The fall semster is underway, so let’s get it started! Doesn’t matter if it’s your first semester of college or the start of your senior year, it is time to put in the work to make your internship dreams come true.
Taking action right now gives you the chance to pick up a fall internship. In September there are still plenty of internship openings that are not filled. In the event your fall semester plate is already full, starting now gives you plenty of time to find a spring or summer 2019 gig.
It may seem too early, but believe me it is not. Great example of how quickly things can move, the Viacom spring 2019 internship deadline is September 30th, just about a month from today. The good news is that there are hundreds of thousands of smaller companies, mid-sized, and non-profit orgranzations that take internss all throughout the year. They key is just to get started.
An Internship is Not Optional
The first hurdle of getting started in the internship process is embracing that this is not optional, but an integral part of your college education. Employers expect you to have internship experience.
Your degree is only a piece of what makes you a candidate. Experience combined with your leadership skills, critical thinking ability, GPA, technical skills and analytical skills work together to present you as an entire package. Rarely is just having a degree, or even the college you went to enough.
On the flip side, internships give you the chance to expand your hard and soft skills while teaching you things like networking and navigating the real world of work. It was through my multiple internship experiences that I became a better writer, was exposed to a variety of work environments, and gained marketing and sales skills I didn’t get in my classes as a public relations major. You owe it to yourself to enhance your marketability by doing multiple internships.
Check With Your Department About Course Credit
I did eight internships in college. My internships were a mixture of paid, unpaid, big company, small non-profits, some for academic credit and some not for credit.
Every internship doesn’t have to be done for course credit, but if you can get credit, it is an absolute win-win. If you can get an internship, academic credit and get paid, that it is a win-win-win.
Some majors or departments won’t let you do an internship for credit until a certain point in your degree program. That’s fine, set your sights on a paid internship and unpaid as a last resort. Then do another when you get to that point in your degree program.
In a lot of majors, you can do an internship at anytime. Visit your academic department to learn about any internship requirements. From there they can guide you to a list of approved intern sites or to the career services office.
I never relied only on my academic advisor to know if I was on track to graduate, you shouldn’t either. Take ownership. Get a degree audit every semester so that you don’t find out in the final hour that you can’t graduate on time.
If you can do an internship for credit then you might be able to pick up an extra class and complete 18 credit hours without taking an extra class. That is a good way to catch up on credits. If you are on a standard 120 degree credit program that means four semesters of at least five classes (15 credits per semester). In the event you took only four classes (12 credit hours) during one semester, you are already behind. If you need more than 120 credits or go to a tri-mester school, do your math.
Go to the Career Services Office
Do you know where career services is on your campus? Depending on the size of your institution, there could be multiple career services offices seperated by college, or their could be one central college office. Figure out where you need to be.
Starting usually mid September through early November colleges across the country hold on-campus career and graduate school fairs. Attending an on-campus career fair literally brings hundreds of employers to your campus who are there for you. They are there looking for interns and future employees. Missing the career fair could mean missed opportunity.
You want to visit career services to 1) find out when the career fair is and 2) get help with your resume and cover letter. Career services can also usually assist you with interview tips and techniques or even doing a mock interview.
Career services advisors tend to have human resources and recruiter contacts with many companies, so use their connections to get the inside track on the best internships and future job opportunities.
Start Your Internship Search
In addition to finding out about academic credit and making plans to attend the career fair you should start your own internship search. Download my free internship manual toolkit to keep organized and understand the best way to do your internship search.
Finding an internship is training for finding a job. The better you become at this process now, the better you will be prepared to look for a job when the time comes.
Your internship search shoud be a combnitation of muliplte resources. Online search engines, company websites, internship programs, career services and networking. When the time comes, your job search will consist of many of these same methods. Here are 5 Ways to Find an Internship that work.
Proper planning will position you to find the best internship opportunities and fit them into your schedule. Over the course of your college education participating in different internships lets you explore other areas that are not withing your major, try different sized companies, enhance the skills you have learned in class, make connections, meet mentors and build your confidence.
So, let’s get it started. Find Internships.