College Bucket List: Complete an Internship
Treat your internship like the first step to your real job.
By Kathryn Knight Randolph
September 13, 2016
Pull an all-nighter. Skip an entire day of class. Sleep all day (preferably on the day you skip class). Sign up for intramurals. Go the “the big game.” Volunteer. Many students carry a bucket list with them as they head off to college; and chances are, it gets longer and longer with each passing year. Though it may be filled with shenanigans and campus traditions, there’s one thing that shouldn’t be left off of the list: get an internship.
If you’ve undergone a job search of any kind, whether it’s a part-time or summer job in your hometown, you know that there is one thing that’s invaluable to landing a job: experience. Same goes for your first “real job.” In fact, Livecareer.com reports that students with internships are more likely to get hired over those that don’t have any experience. They also state:
- 95% of employers said that experience is a factor when hiring recent college graduates.
- Half of employers that completed a survey with the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) wanted new employees that came from internship or co-op programs.
- Nearly 36% of college graduates hired come directly from the company’s former internship pool.
- Employers say they pay those with internship experience 6.5 times more than those without.
So what does the college internship process look like?
Starting the Internship Search
You can start the search for an internship in a variety of places. Some students start with their major. Others search by intended career field. And sometimes, it’s all about location. To find out what’s the right type of internship for you, write down your priorities and try to place them in order.
Visit your campus career center. They have an entire database at their fingertips along with alumni connections at companies in which you may be interested. Plus, they can help you better format your resume, introduce you to the company and help you with internship interview prep.
Preparing for the Internship Interview
You’re not allowed to walk into an interview with little to no knowledge on a company just because it’s an internship. Rather, you need to prepare like this is your first “real job” interview. Research everything you can about the company, position and potential career path. It’s also a good idea to hop on LinkedIn and check for mutual connections to the company beforehand. These acquaintances can help prepare you for what to expect.
Also, stop by the career center again. They can conduct practice interview sessions to help identify your interviewing strengths and weaknesses.
Completing Your Internship
Most students believe that securing the internship is the hard part, but it’s the day-to-day work as well as the impressions you make that count the most. This internship could lead to a job offer after college. So don’t think of the internship as a way to get experience; think of it as a try-out for your first real job. After all, as noted above, nearly 36% of new hires come directly from the company’s former interns.
Take your internship seriously – it’s not just about college credit or a way to spend your summer days. Make the work meaningful, be inquisitive and establish relationships with your peers and superiors. You never know where it could lead.
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