July 12, 2023

How To Get An Internship & Why It Will Get Noticed

By B&SC Blog Team

How To Get An Internship & Why It Will Get Noticed

You have big plans for your career and are excited to catch the eye of an esteemed recruiter or two. But first, you’ll need hands-on experience and a strong professional network. Both can be accomplished by completing a college internship.

Struggling to understand the hype of the modern internship? Keep reading to learn what it involves, why it’s so important, and how you can score the best internship opportunities.

What Are Internships?

Internships represent the joining of education and work to provide significant benefits for aspiring professionals and employers alike. These short-term work and academic experiences allow students to apply their skills in new settings while exploring professional niches they might not otherwise encounter.

Why Are Internships Beneficial?

The appeal of the college internship is far-reaching. This unique experience can provide networking advantages and opportunities for hands-on skills application and personal reflection. No two internships offer exactly the same benefits, but this is also part of their value. There are plenty of unique, even personalized, options that can reflect each student’s specific needs and interests. The benefits of internships abound, but the following are some of the most noteworthy perks of completing one during your college years:

Scope Out Your Potential Career Path

No matter how much you learn in a classroom environment, only real-world exposure will truly prepare you for the realities of your future career.

Many interns are surprised to discover that after working extensively in fields they previously found compelling, they no longer feel as passionate about those niches. It’s far better to learn this early on than to commit to a career field you’re not suited for.

On the other hand, your early forays into a particular career path may reveal that it is, in fact, the field for you. If so, your internship will have you feeling newly energized to take on the challenges of the job hunt – or, perhaps, inspired to pursue even more training at the graduate level.

Get a Leg Up with Networking

Arguably the most significant advantage of the modern internship is high-level networking. No matter how much time or effort you dedicate to networking while enrolled in college or after you graduate, few relationship-building pursuits will be as profoundly impactful as your college internship.

The benefits mainly surround the power of proximity. Internships place you in close contact with some of the most inspiring and influential professionals in your industry of choice. If you can impress these individuals, you’ll discover a whole new world of exciting job opportunities.

Your networking efforts will prove beneficial as you strive for that first post graduation job, and you can continue drawing on your early mentors or fellow interns for advice or recommendations when you seek new positions in the future.

Build Technical and Transferable Skills

You’ve undoubtedly acquired impressive skills and knowledge through your college coursework, but how often have you applied these abilities in the real world? You’ll quickly cement this knowledge as an intern.

Through daily assigned tasks, you’ll be thoroughly exposed to processes that may have seemed intimidating from your previous perspective as a student. By the time you complete your internship, you’ll have plenty of practice with the basics and perhaps even a few higher-level skills.

In addition to targeted technical or clinical skills, your internship can help you develop transferable skills. These will prove valuable no matter the direction your career ultimately takes.

For example, soft skills are especially transferable and include vital traits such as:

• Written communication

• Verbal communication

• Problem-solving

• Teamwork

• Empathy

How to Find an Internship in College

Now that you understand just how crucial internships are to the modern college experience, it’s time to start hunting for the perfect opportunity. The effort required to land a great internship will depend, to a great degree, on your preferred field and location.

Internships are more abundant in some locations than others – but in some professions, they’re also highly competitive. Give yourself an edge by following these steps:

1. Determine Which Types of Internships Will Be Most Beneficial

Before you embark on the internship hunt, it’s important to set goals and reflect on the opportunities you’ll encounter. Yes, the competition can be fierce, but that doesn’t mean that you should apply for just any internship. Instead, think about your long-term aspirations – and the role the right internship can play in that future.

2. Create or Revise Your Resume

A targeted resume can make a world of difference as you strive to attract attention from top recruiters. Don’t worry if you lack experience; your resume simply needs to demonstrate that you have a lot of passion and potential.

Key elements you should include in your internship resume are:

College details: Where are you enrolled? When do you expect to graduate? Don’t forget to highlight your major and minor, as well as any relevant coursework or skills that could make you more valuable as an intern.

Professional experience: Don’t assume that your limited job experience puts you out of the running for a great internship. Every job provides important takeaways; it’s up to you to demonstrate how you’ve grown through your past work experiences. Of course, professional experiences directly related to your major or potential internship will be the most impactful, so highlight these whenever possible.

Contact information: This seems obvious but shouldn’t be overlooked – use a professional-sounding email address and include your phone number.

3. Don’t Forget the Cover Letter

A great resume will take you far, but it needs to be accompanied by an equally impressive cover letter. This essential will shed light on why you’re interested in the internship and what, exactly, sets you apart (beyond credentials). A fantastic cover letter can help you overcome a lack of relevant experience.

Both your cover letter and resume should be short and sweet. Recruiters should instantly recognize which qualities you bring to the table. Explain why you’re passionate about the field and what you hope to accomplish as an intern – and in your eventual career.

4. Seek Recommendations

Through your years in college, you’ve likely developed strong working relationships with several leaders who can speak to your abilities. Their recommendations could be incredibly valuable. Options include:

• Academic advisors

• Employers

• Instructors

• Coaches

Be sure to ask for recommendations early on, as many faculty members are inundated with requests. Many set a strict limit on how many letters they’re willing to write. Wait too long, and you could miss out on one of your internship application’s most essential elements.

5. Get Help from Career Services

Searching for an internship need not be a solo venture. As a college student, you enjoy access to a career services department that can point you in the right direction. Career services experts can help you with all aspects of your internship search, such as:

• Assisting with goal setting so you can feel more confident as you apply for specific internships

• Crafting a resume that resonates with employers

• Finding the best internship opportunities relevant to your current education and future career

6. Prepare for Interviews

You’ve impressed recruiters with your resume and scheduled your first interview. Practice is essential, especially if you have limited professional experience and have completed very few interviews in the past.

Begin by considering likely questions and how you might answer them. The goal should not be to create a detailed script for your internship interview but to avoid getting thrown off by surprise questions.

Common queries include:

• Why are you interested in working in this industry?

• Why are you interested in this internship?

• Describe a situation in which you’ve taken on a leadership role.

• Have you overcome any significant challenges as a college student?

• Which college accomplishment are you most proud of – and why?

Once you have a sense of which questions might make their way into your interview, work with friends, family members, or fellow students to complete a few mock interviews. Have somebody film at least one of these so you can determine whether your body language or tone of voice might be cause for concern.

7. Don’t Quit

If an early rejection has you feeling down on yourself, don’t despair: The internship race is notoriously competitive, and often dozens (or even hundreds) of students apply for coveted positions.

Keep submitting those applications and building your network. Meanwhile, look carefully at any responses to determine where weaknesses might be present – and whether any targeted changes could lead to better outcomes. Eventually, you should catch somebody’s eye.

8. Don’t Take Your Internship for Granted

Scoring a great internship is only the first step. Now you need to make the most of this valuable experience.

Whether your internship is paid or unpaid, you should treat it like a job. This means conducting yourself in a professional manner and giving it your all.

Professional conduct will increase the likelihood of your internship becoming a postgraduation job. Even if this isn’t possible, your tenacity will produce great recommendations and a solid professional network (including current students, alumni, and professionals) to help you score your next position.

Start Your Journey at Bryant & Stratton College

Do you have big plans for your career? The right college program will provide academic enrichment and plenty of opportunities to apply essential skills in a real-world setting.

This is a major point of pride at Bryant & Stratton College, where career readiness is one of our main goals. Request info today to learn more about our approach – and our range of targeted and highly accessible training programs.

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