One of the most important experiences when pursuing a career, especially the business field, is internship experience. Of course, it’s crucial to learn the material in your courses and study hard, but it’s just as important to gain hands-on experience in the real world. Practical experience can supplement your education and help you learn what it takes to be a professional in your prospective field. Not to mention, internships can help direct your career path — you’ll learn what you do not want to do as a career just as well as what you do want to do as a career.
I’m a marketing major with a minor in communication, so I have been working to get internship experience since my first year of college. I’ve had four internships throughout my three summers of college, and they have helped shape me as a professional and helped me understand what kind of job I want.
So how can you get an internship? How can you make most of your time at an internship? What further opportunities can an internship bring?
Internship opportunities are often posted online on sites such as Indeed.com, CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, Internships.com, LinkedIn.com, Glassdoor.com and additional job posting sites. Sometimes, though, jobs are just posted directly on company sites. When searching for an internship, be sure to look at the websites of companies you are interested in. Often times, company websites have a section called “Careers” or “Employment” or something similar.
Additionally, you can always email the company directly to inquire about internship opportunities. For my internship at a local newspaper, I found the main editorial email on the newspaper’s website about possible internship opportunities. It never hurts to reach out to a company to see if there are any internship opportunities available or just to get your name in the company’s system.
After applying to an internship, you may have to wait a little while to hear back. If you hear back and earn an opportunity to interview for a position, it is important to prepare. Whether it is working with The Gerard R. Roche Center For Career Development or meeting with faculty members who have insight about interviewing and typical interview questions, any practice helps.
If your first interview is a phone interview, be sure to be ready by your phone before the scheduled time, as well as be in a quiet and secure space. For any type of interview, it is helpful to read up on the company and be familiar with what the company does, its mission statement, the industry the company is in and the company website’s content. Most importantly, be sure to know the job/internship description well and have questions about the job and company prepared in the back of your mind or written down.
The interview process can consist of anywhere from one to several rounds of interviews. If you make it through the entire process and earn the position, the thought of your first day on the job can be very nerve-racking. It’s important to remember that you earned the position and the right to be there, and the employees you work with will understand what you’re going through. They were once new, and they won’t expect you to immediately know how to do everything.
If your internship goes well, it can open up myriad opportunities for your future. These experiences can help you make great networking connections in your field, help you to find people to write reliable references for your future job applications and they can even sometimes earn you a job at the company where you interned.
So, get searching and applying! The worst that can happen is you get politely turned down, but the best that can happen is that you find your dream position at an amazing place!