The Value of Internships While In College


If you’re about to begin your college career – congratulations!

College is a time of exploring, maturing and growing into the amazing adult you’re setting out to become.

There are lots of key steps along the way to make this journey a reality and have a positive ending.

While the pot at the end of the rainbow should be all the knowledge you’ve amassed during these four years, the reality is, the pot of gold is the quality of job, within your field of study, that you’re able to land upon graduation.

Not to mention having a nice salary doesn’t hurt either. Follow these tips from the experts to make your dream a reality.

Freshman year is a period of adjustment, a time for exploration and growing independence.

Once you’ve honed in on an area of study, begin to develop your network of seasoned graduates, professors and industry leaders.

Volunteering in clubs on campus that focus on your area of study is a huge start. Often, guest speakers, company tours and networking sessions are part of the objectives of these clubs.

If that’s not the case, be a leader and initiate functions that will benefit all of the members after graduates.

No doubt you’ll receive terrific support from the faculty advisors. Also, it’s difficult to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life when you are only 18 years old and just recently graduated from high school and moved out of your parents home.

Yet this seems to be the continuing expectation as we are asked to decide our majors almost instantly upon entering college.

Sure you have time to finalize it, but you have a set curriculum to follow for each course of study, and the longer you take to decide the longer it may take to graduate with your degree.

However, there are ways to make this decision easier.

As early as the end of your freshman year, build your resume and have a faculty member review it.

Sure there probably won’t be a lot of meat and substance on it, but it doesn’t make having a clean and legible resume any less important. In addition, you should focus on a general cover letter as well.

If you have completed those tasks, congratulations, you’re now ready to head to the career center and begin applying for summer internships.

Often times finding an internship with only 1 year into college can be quite difficult, though you should still make an attempt.

It’s often not until Sophomore or Junior year that you are able to find a quality internship.

Keep in mind that your first internship may not be terribly exciting and you may well feel undervalued. It’s called paying your dues. Keep this up every summer during college. Maintain your contacts with each of these companies as well as the campus career center.

It’s even possible that the first internship might be unpaid, what’s more, you might find yourself paying for college credit/tuition just to have the privilege of working this internship.

Follow Up Email
Keep in mind the proper internship etiquette. It’s hugely impact to write follow up notes to prospective employers, thank you notes to contacts that helped you along the way as well as emails to stay in touch and keep your network abreast of your studies and post-graduation objectives.

You must take the initiative to do each of these things, none are requirements and no-one will do them for you. The payoff, however, will be huge. When interviewing for a full time position after graduation, those students with solid internship experience will be the first hired for the best jobs.

If you can manage to snag an internship two or three years of college you will find your resume and employability rising to the top of the pile.

Employers always value real world experience over merely having book knowledge.

Good luck to you!