By: Steven Vukaj, Product Specialist
Although college is an opportunity for you to expand your knowledge in a specific area, it is just as important to start developing your career as well. Your future may be intimidating to think about, however it is crucial to start looking for internship opportunities during your collegiate years. Internships, whether paid or unpaid, provide students with an extra opportunity to learn more than they would in a traditional classroom setting.
Landing an internship is a great feat, but in order to do so, it is important to get serious about the application process. Most people begin applying for internships in their junior or third year of college. Students will typically intern in the summer between their junior and senior years. If successful, these internships might turn into full-time career opportunities after graduation.
First, you should have a general idea of what kind of industry you want to go into. Many colleges across the United States have partnerships with career research platforms like UpperCampus, where you can explore in-depth industry information, or Handshake, where you are able to connect with recruiters at various companies. LinkedIn is also a great place to do research on different positions and careers. You are also free to contact people who work at companies you may be interested in. You can start by making a list for yourself of companies you enjoy and looking on their career page on their websites. They will usually have a separate page that shows internship opportunities and which industries they are hiring for. Keep track of which ones are hiring for interns and the positions they are looking for!
Once you have this information down, it is important to build your résumé. There are various aspects of your career that you should include in your résumé. This includes your college/university, your GPA, and your major. Since you are applying for internships, you probably will not have experience in the field you are going for. However, this should not prevent you from including any past jobs you have had! Include as much as you can, including the timespan in which you have worked there. Be sure to include the responsibilities you had at your respective jobs. Toward the bottom of your résumé, you can include any leadership positions you have held and extracurricular activities you are involved in. Beneath that, you can include skills and interests you may have. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase any programs you are proficient in, like Excel and/or Photoshop, for example. Finally, you can include your hobbies as well as any other languages you are fluent in.
When you finally have your résumé ready, you can start applying for internships! Filling out application forms sounds daunting, however they have become computerized and automated for the most part. When you find an internship you like, you can upload your résumé and it will usually fill in pieces of the application for you. Whatever is left, you can fill in the rest.
When applying for internships, you should definitely apply for a couple dozen. Several places may not get back to you, so it is important to expand your options as much as possible. Try not to stress, as you will eventually find the right place that is meant for you. Best of luck!