They’re something you hear about from everyone while in college and they can be a really overwhelming, stressful and scary thing to think about. However, I firmly believe that the more hands-on or real-world experience someone has in their field before graduation, the more likely they are to be leaving school with a job lined up, or with lots of professional connections!
Since the idea of internships can be so nerve-racking, I think it’s also important to intern at a place you feel comfortable in, as well as motivated! Whether you’re working for free or not, having an internship at a place you’re excited to go to, will make your experience that much more beneficial!
Step One: Shop Around
Looking everywhere you can for internships that would benefit you and your skills is vital. I’m not sure if every college has this, but we have an online website, basically like a search engine, full of available jobs and internships targeted at students or graduates. I’ve found so many jobs on here, as well as internships that I’ve ended up having interviews for! I actually had about four different interviews for internships before I was actually offered one. I was getting really discouraged and depressed, because I had never really been turned down from a job I’ve applied for, let alone one that didn’t even pay! I felt like because I waited so long to intern (last semester of my senior year) nobody was going to give me a chance. However, I finally landed another interview and thankfully was offered a position. It may take time until you’re offered a position, there may be several parts to the interview, or you may be offered the position on the spot! I just think it’s important to never rely on just one place during the interview process, and have lots of options ready to go that interest you and are relevant to your skillset.
Step Two: Trust Your Gut
I’m a huge, ‘trust your gut’ person. Like I mentioned before, I had been on about four different interviews for an intern position before I was actually offered one. However, I noticed how different the interview was with the place I was offered a position was compared to all of the other interviews. Immediately my internship coordinator were having casual side conversation about things we had in common and had to keep reminding ourselves to get back to the interview. I felt really comfortable and it was very easy to talk to the person interviewing me. With all my other interviews, I felt awkward and didn’t feel any kind of connection to the person interviewing me. I felt like I wasn’t able to properly explain my thoughts for whatever reason, and just didn’t have a good overall feeling about the situation or interview. It’s important to observe how you feel when you’re interviewing for the position, if you feel like this workplace could be a good and motivating environment, or if you’ll feel scared and intimidated. In my opinion, you need to feel comfortable enough to ask your internship coordinator or whomever, questions or concerns you have about the project you’re working on. Feeling comfortable and asking questions will not only help you learn in the long run, it will show your organization that you’re truly interested and dedicated to this work and putting forth your best effort.
Step Three: Start Early
Since I had to work basically full-time all throughout college to pay for my everything myself, I only had the chance to intern during my 5th year of school when I now (thankfully) am not paying rent where I live. However, it’s so important and more beneficial for someone to start interning as soon as they can! You’ll get a feel for your job in the real-world, whether you like it or not, what kind of position you’d like to have, professionals in the industry will become familiar with you much more quickly, too! If you’re like me and don’t have time to intern, try starting something in your spare time that you could show employers during interviews! Blogs, photography websites, Instagrams, whatever! Create a following, put some effort into your work, and enjoy it! Internships are different in every place you’ll find. Sometimes you’ll be the one getting coffee, other times you’ll be working on the same project with full-time employees. Starting the process early lets you get a ton of experience and allows you to have a ton of professional connections before graduating!
Have any of you started looking for internships? How have your experiences been so far? Let’s chat in the comments!