Everything You Need To Know About Internships in College
For many college students, internships are the gateway to bigger and better things.
Not only do they offer plenty of experience, but internships are a great networking opportunity.
Whether it's paid or unpaid, internships in college get your foot in the door and give you valuable experience in your field of study.
Here we'll offer internship tips and tricks to help you land a position and put yourself on the path to success.
What is an Internship?
Let's start with the basics. What exactly is an internship?
Internships are limited-time work programs geared toward college students and recent graduates. They can range anywhere from a few weeks to six months or even a year.
There are paid vs unpaid internships but the main focus is on learning, not making money. Internships are an opportunity for students to gain experience in a particular field.
It's a win-win for both the company and the student. They're getting the help they need with minimal overhead and you're gaining valuable experience.
Why Are Internships Important?
Most college graduates enter the workforce with little to no work experience. While you may have a glowing resume and academic achievements, employers want to see hands-on experience in the field.
Internships are the perfect way to bulk up your resume with real-world credentials. If you prove yourself, you may even get a job offer once the internship is over.
Internships also teach you life skills and worth ethic. You'll learn to take direction from a superior, communicate with coworkers, create a productive work environment, and so much more.
But internships in college don't just teach you more about the job you want to do. They also give you a glimpse at what you don't want to do.
Do you see law school in your future? After spending several months at a law firm, you may find that the work isn't as thrilling as you'd hoped and the hours are grueling.
Internships give you a sneak peek into the future, helping you avoid costly missteps along the way.
Lastly, applying for internships is similar to applying for full-time positions. You'll get a feel for the application process and sharpen your interview skills.
Types of Internships to Consider
Internships in college come in all shapes and sizes. You just need to know where to look.
The four main types of internships are paid, student, for-credit, and virtual. While your first instinct might be, "I want to get paid!", hear us out.
There are several benefits to taking unpaid or even for-credit internships. Let's take a closer look at each type of internship.
Internships mirror a normal job in almost every way, which is why most college students want to get paid for their efforts. Many companies understand this and have no problem compensating their interns.
If the internship is advertised as a non-paid position, don't ask for compensation. This is unprofessional and a little distasteful.
If making money while you learn is a top priority for you, only apply to paid internships.
This is the perfect place to start when searching for internships in college. After all, you're a student and these positions are geared toward young and eager candidates such as yourself.
College students, recent graduates, and those looking to change careers can all apply for student internships. Many are non-paid and viewed more as a mentoring opportunity.
Another great opportunity for college students, for-credit internships offer compensation in the form of college credits. This type of internship is normally tied to a specific academic major.
Some college courses require an internship and even help students secure positions.
Virtual internships during COVID are growing in popularity. These internships also referred to as remote or online internships, allow students to gain experience without being physically on-site.
Virtual internships are perfect for jobs that require a computer and mostly online work like those in the digital marketing or IT field.
Similar to going on a job hunt, you'll need to do some research and legwork to find internship opportunities. The good news is there are plenty of resources available for finding internships in college.
Popular job sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Google Jobs all list available internships. Sites like Internships.com and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) are geared towards internships for students.
Internships are available in most industries but some of the most popular include:
- Business and Business Management
- Fashion and Design
Internships allow you to test drive a potential career and see if it fits. Don't be afraid to try something out of your comfort zone but keep in mind, you also want to gain experience in your field of study.
Applying for Internships
Most internships require a resume and cover letter. The same way you would approach a job application, pay close attention to the directions and follow them closely.
Doing so shows the employer that you're professional, can follow directions, and will take your role seriously.
Your resume should highlight any previous work experience, accomplishments, and related coursework. Your cover letter details why you're the best candidate for the position.
Don't rush this process. A well-laid-out resume and cover letter could be the difference between landing your dream internship and missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Internships in College Offer Endless Possibilities
If you're wondering, "Are internships worth it?", the answer is yes! Internships in college offer a unique and rare opportunity to gain valuable experience and try your dream job on for size.
Sometimes it fits and sometimes it doesn't. Either way, you'll walk away with new skills and experience to add to your work resume.
In the best-case scenario, you may walk away with a job offer! Need more help finding and landing your dream internship?
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