As a student, landing an internship is vital to your success. Not only will it ensure you get college credit, but it holds the key to future job opportunities.
Don’t kid yourself. Applying for college internships takes a lot of work. But starting your research early gives you a leg up on other students who are applying.
Put your researching hat on and decide what type of internship would be a good fit for you. Based on your major, you should have a good idea of where to start.
Here are seven tips that’ll help you land an internship that you enjoy and get you the college credit you need!
1. Visit the Career Service’s Office
Your college’s career services office should be the first place you look for an internship. At a career center, you can learn about currently available internships.
The earlier you check out internships, the better. Keep in mind, though, that some internships may pop up daily. Make it your goal to stop by the office once a day to see if there’s something that piques your interest.
Don’t be too picky, though. Otherwise, an appealing internship might get snatched up by another student!
2. Understand the Guidelines
Before applying, make sure you understand your school’s guidelines. Every school has different procedures to follow so that you get credit.
If you’re not sure of all the details, such as writing a paper as well, find out now. Make a list of what you’ll need during and after your internship. That way, when it’s time to turn everything in to get school credit, you’ll be all set.
Here are a few items that your university will likely need after your internship:
What the job entailed and the activities you participated in
POs document that summarizes your knowledge and skills
Intern feedback form that a mentor from the company fills out
Certificate of internship that certifies and details that you finished your internship
After your internship is over, ask for these documents as soon as possible. You don’t want to have to remind the company later. Besides, it’s better to do it while everything is fresh in everyone's minds.
3. Apply Early On
Don’t procrastinate on applying for an internship. I already mentioned that going to the career office is a good place to start. Find out if more internships will be available before a semester or if it’s best to keep checking back.
The earlier you get started on your internship hunt, the better. Having the time to get all your ducks in a row will be helpful as you have to iron out other school details.
Completing your internship takes time, so apply now so you won’t have to worry about it.
4. Use Your Network
If you’ve been going to your school for a while, you likely have a network of people.
For your network at your university, converse with professors, staff, and students. See if they know of any internship opportunities.
Students who are juniors and seniors may have interned with an incredible company. If that’s the case, they could put in a good word for you and see if they’ll have any openings in the future.
If you work part-time with a company while going to school, see if they are open to an internship. You’ll never know until you ask.
To network in other ways, you can look for opportunities online, which I touch on next.
5. Look for Opportunities Online
It’s also worth your time to look for internship opportunities online. There’s a goldmine of internships available. Depending on the type of internship you’re after, you should be able to find one in your niche.
Some sites to check out are Internships.com, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor. Comb through the listings and make a list of the ones that interest you the most.
You can visit the company’s website to do more research. Applying for a position that’s a good fit will ensure you end up doing something you enjoy.
After researching and you have a list put together, start applying!
6. Perfect Your Resume
Many companies may ask to see your resume when you apply. They may want a cover letter as well. Depending on what the instructions are, craft your resume and cover letter accordingly.
You may not have a lot of experience yet, so highlight the skills and volunteer work you’ve done. Focusing on these skills will show the companies that you’re eager to learn. Plus, it'll also convey that you already have a wide variety of skills.
Even though they realize you’ll be there to learn, it’s a selling point when you already have skills to offer.
7. Reach Out to the Hiring Manager
If you’re able to, reach out to the hiring manager directly to ask questions. You may be able to find an email or phone number on the company website.
If you get in touch, it’s wise to have your questions already written down. It will help if you prepare yourself for follow-up comments or questions as well. While you’re at it, let them know why you’re the person for the internship!
Your eagerness to learn more about the position might really impress them. Who knows — they may end up awarding you with the internship!
Looking for your first college internship is an exciting time. You get to gain more experience in the industry you’re studying. Plus, you get to connect with professionals who have presumably been working for a while.
Don't take looking for the right internship lightly. It may tempt you to go with the first internship that comes along — but don't. Unless you're confident and feel like it's a good fit, continue your search.
Even though they’re doing you a favor by helping you expand your knowledge, you also bring a lot to the table. Don’t sell yourself short and find an internship you deserve!
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with The Reserve at Greensboro to help them with their online marketing.