An internship is a structured work experience related to a student’s major and/or career. This experience is expected to enhance a student’s academic understanding and career/professional development under the supervision of a profession in the field. An internship can come after one academic session (summer, spring, and fall) or multiple academic sessions in length.
It’s essential to know that to be eligible for an internship; the position does not have to be labeled “internship”. Many part-time jobs, volunteer opportunities, or even summer jobs can qualify as an internship. Internships might also be called a practicum or co-op so you can be paid or not, depending on the agreement signed by you and the company.
IMPORTANCE OF INTERNSHIP
One of the first requirements in an entry-level job is “experience”. Some of the importance of internship are as follow;
With an internship, you are given a chance to practice your future job under the supervision of a professional and also give you the ability to achieve your own learning goals without the responsibilities of being a permanent employee.
By doing a great job and completing more than what is required of you in your internship, you will be creating a great impression that can provide a great reference letter at the least and may even potentially lead to a potential job offer.
Internships are a great way gather experience so even if you find yourself filing or making coffee, as long as you‘re learning about the field take advantage of the opportunity and don’t take the experience for granted. Asking questions is one way to learning in an internship and keeping yourself flexible throughout the internship can open many doors.
Internships are a proven way to gain relevant knowledge, skills, and experience while establishing important connections in the field. Internships are also a way to find out if a specific field is something you could see yourself doing full-time. Internships may be completed during fall or spring semester or full time over the course of the summer. Unpaid internships may be easier to get but may also pose problems if making money is necessary, especially during the summer. The problem is there are many who cannot afford to work for no pay, so they are forced into doing menial jobs.
TIPS FOR GETTING AN INTERNSHIP
Getting an internship in the summer especially is not an easy task, as the numbers of positions available are far lesser than the number of students applying.
Here are some of the tips that will land you that internship position quickly;
1. IDENTIFY PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYERS
Consider Researching potential employers on the Internet, by checking out professional organizations. Using a search engine and finding employer Web sites. Organizational directories, the Yellow Pages, and local newspapers can be used to pinpoint organizations of interest, including traditional summer employers, like hotels, camps, convention centers, government agencies, etc. Look at the online job listing Web sites for upcoming opportunities.
2. CHECK YOUR RESUME
A resume can effectively present your background and distinguish you from other job seekers. It is the first impression you give to your employers is your resume, make sure you have an error-free resume. Proofread your resume for any errors and if possible, have someone you know is good to also read it. If any errors are found, make sure you correct them immediately. Also, search your resume for any inaccuracies such as situations not matching the correct dates; this can lead to disqualification during an interview or you getting fired even after landing the job.
In the process of making sure that the resume and application are error-free, applicants should make sure that they’re including the information that employers frequently want to know about, preferably toward the top of the document or in some other prominent place. Namely, you should describe all relevant experience you have in the industry, as well as any special knowledge you may have acquired in the field thus far.
3. GET YOUR APPLICATION IN EARLY
It is best you know the deadline for submission of application, so you can submit early. It is very important for you to submit early as some organizations use the policy of “first come, first serve”. Make sure your writing is neat and legible. Note that these employers receive tens, hundreds or even thousands of applications for their internship positions.
4. BEAT YOUR ABSOLUTE BEST FOR THE INTERVIEW
It should go without saying that you should go early for the interview as some employers consider it as the first stage of the interview. Also, make sure you look presentable. You should consider asking questions and also being ready to answer questions as well. Do well to research about the company and know very much about them so that they feel you are really serious about working with them.
5. EMPHASIZE FLEXIBILITY
Interns may have set job duties. That is, their task might be simply to enter data into spreadsheets all day or to make cold calls. However, many times interns are given tasks that nobody else in the office wants. As such your assigned tasks may vary frequently and may not be known by the employer at the time of your interview. For this reason, interns should consider making it clear that they are willing to do grunt work and that they can be flexible based on the organization’s needs.
6. FOLLOW-UP ALL INTERVIEWS
Always send a thank-you letter or e-mail to the interviewer expressing your appreciation. If you were not granted an interview, follow up your application with a phone call, an e-mail, a letter, or even a visit. Your interest and enthusiasm will distinguish you from other job seekers.
7. ASK ABOUT FULL-TIME POSITIONS
There is usually no guarantee that an internship will lead to a permanent placement at the company. However, in some cases, it may not hurt to ask, either during the interview or once you land the position. In fact, it may be good to ask because it not only conveys your interest in joining the organization on a permanent basis, but it also gives the company some time to consider the possibility of hiring you full-time or creating a new position for you.