The Importance of Internships
So you think because you are graduating from a top private university you will get a job without a problem, right? Think again. With this economy, some top graduates of Harvard can't even get a job. Ok ok, maybe they will. But what about us? The people who did not have the opportunity to go to Harvard can get great jobs, too. But how do we get jobs after graduating? More and more employers say real world experience is the key to getting a job. So how do you get real world experience? I have one word for ya: Internship.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen, Webmaster of Quintessential Careers states, Internships are one of the best ways for college students to get that experience. So I know what your thinking, Oh, I get an internship and I run errands for people all day and get them coffee, nothing but grunt work, right? Not entirely. Think of it this way. You might get to assist an ad agency with a commercial, or write for a web site or a broadcasting station or even learn behind the scenes activities of running a corporation. Whatever you do, no matter how small, you will get an inside look at a real life job, giving you an edge during job hunting. The idea of an internship is looking better isn't it? And in the words of George Bush or Porky Pig, that's not all, folks. Here are some other reasons to get an internship.
Not only do you get hands on experience in an office setting and become part of a team, but you will also gain a valuable knowledge in your field of study. For example, I bet Sean P Diddy Combs internship for the New York-based Uptown Records gave him an opportunity to sharpen his quality of work and enhance some of his habits, right? By working in an office setting you can put to work all the knowledge you learned in a classroom and improve on your oral and written communication and leadership skills.
Internships also give you the opportunity to gain some self-confidence. Figure out what your strengths are and really shine. It is also a good time to identify your weaknesses so they too can become stronger. In fact, in the GrooveJob.com interview section there is a list of possible questions asked by the interviewer. Question number three asks, What's your greatest strength? The advice on how to answer that is easy, The idea is not to just talk about your strengths--relate it to the position. There is a bunch of great advice on the GrooveJob.com website, fish around and take notes, that is what I did when I applied for this internship.
College is an amazing place to learn self-reliance and independence. An internship is a great place to use those qualities. At the same time, college is a great place for procrastination. Lets not deny it, most of my friends cannot get a paper done unless they start the day before it is due (not a good habit to get into- but it works). An internship will help you get back that motivation that you might have thrown out the third-story dorm window you live in.
Earlier I said an internship is a great opportunity to improve oral and written communication skills. This is important because most of us are not used to interacting with a diverse population. You might meet lawyers, police officers, politicians, extremely rich people, not so rich people, hippies, rock stars, circus folk, teachers, and even other interns. Each person might be different in their language, their personality, and their profession. Interacting with people will teach you more about real world experiences faster than anything.
The last thing I would like to talk about is your ability to really let your career begin at this point. Just think, no more classes, no more papers to write, no more tests to study for. This is it, how exciting! Look at this as an opportunity to work with the company full-time after the completion of the internship. Even if you don not work with that particular company, think of all the networking you can accomplish and all of the contacts you will meet. Focus on gaining an edge and keeping yourself in the job market. Keep in mind of how this is a chance to build your resume. Think of how this is, more than anything, an experience or just one milestone in your life. In an e-mail from Dr. Randall Hansen, he said to me, "an internship... it is often a great experience, it helps you decide your major/career path, and employers love to see a resume with internships on it."
So look out your window and locate that motivation that you threw out so long ago. It might be on a cloud or the rooftop of another house or it might even have landed on your window sill. Once you found it, hold on to it really tight and start your search for the perfect internship for you.
And do not worry, I am not leaving you hangin. You are probably wondering how to take the first step. Well, ever heard of GrooveJob.com? It's obviously the best web site out there! But check out The Riley Guide - Internships. At this site you will find information that's just right for you.
You can also visit:
- CVTips.com - They have lots of articles on internships and career guidance
- Vault.com - A trusted name in career information
There are some other places, as well. Check out the Career Center at your school or even in individual
departments. Ask around. There are also Job Fairs that introduce you to a number of companies. Just
as you are looking for them, they are looking for you. So why are you still reading? Go get your self
some coffee, because it might be the last time you get it for yourself and begin your search.