Finding an internship, for law and medical graduates especially, can be a daunting task. The calibre of internship you accept could very well shape your future and becomes an important entry on your resume. Choose carefully.
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Finding an internship position while a college student is a great way to gain experience in your chosen field, experience the workplace firsthand, learn industry “jargon,” and develop marketable skills. An internship can also lead to a position with the same company or a direct referral for another position. You can also use the experience and references to land your ideal job. How do you go about finding this type of internship?
Use Your School’s Resources
As a college student, take advantage of your school’s career services. Too many students do not take advantage of this opportunity. The career services personnel can help you identify and locate internship opportunities that might not otherwise know about.
Additionally, use the staff in your department, including professors and administrative staff. These people also may hear of internship opportunities that they can pass along to you. It’s also a good idea for students to stay in contact with these professionals because these relationships are the beginning of your networking contacts. Your instructors are great resources for jobs, references, and other opportunities.
Conduct Your Own Research
If there is a company that you would really like to do an internship with, conduct some research to find out if they have an internship program. If so, follow the necessary guidelines to apply, such as submitting a job application, resume, cover letter, or any other information required. Even if the company does not have a formal internship program, however, this does not mean that it’s not possible. If you can write a strong application letter and resume showing why you want to work with the company as an intern, you may have a chance.
Additionally, just as you will when conducting a job search, use all your existing networking resources in addition to those mentioned. Tell others that you are investigating internship opportunities and let them know what you’re looking for. Someone unexpected might know of the perfect opportunity for you.
When looking for an intern position, you may be required to submit materials similar to those for a job. This means you should have a resume ready, as well as a cover letter, references, and be prepared to submit any additional information. Even though your resume may not be as complete as it will when you graduate, having a basic resume on which to build will be a useful tool as you continue your professional development.
Consider Smaller Companies
While many people would love to internship with a large company, this is not always possible, nor is it always as advantageous. In a smaller company, there may be more opportunities and less competition. For the college student, this may translate into a permanent position following an internship. It may also mean more learning opportunities within the internship, as positions in smaller companies may include a broader range of responsibilities. This doesn’t mean you should turn down an internship with a large corporation, but do consider the advantages of interning with a smaller business.
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