So you’re a college student, and you’re looking for some experience in your field? Sometimes, searching for and obtaining internships can be harder than you imagined. However, they’re an essential part of building your resume so, you’ll have some work experience under your belt before graduation.
There aren’t many companies looking to hire graduates with no experience at all, so it’s best to get started with internships as quickly as possible! Here are a few valuable tips to help you jumpstart your career with great internship experience.
1. Identify the specific skills or experience you wish to get out of your internship experience.
Internships are all about building your experience and enhancing your skills. Before looking for internships, it’s important to think about why you want to apply for a specific position. If you think in terms of the future – your professional goals and what sort of experiences would be most beneficial – you won’t feel as overwhelmed.
Once you’ve found and completed the right internship, you can highlight your enhanced talents and accomplishments on your resume. Examples of this include:
- Expanded Twitter audience for Company XYZ by 30 percent
- Created effective email campaign that resulted in an event of 500+ attendees
- Conducted market research to identify new business locations in five areas of Pittsburgh
2. Determine the most compelling studies within your major and expand upon them through an internship.
Internships provide the perfect opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you’ve learned in class to a work environment. If you have a broad major, then think about which classes you have particularly enjoyed when looking for internships.
Maybe you’re a marketing major, but your favorite class was Advertising 101. You can explore advertising further through an internship and still try something different at your next internship if you have other interests. Internships provide a great way to see what does and doesn’t work for you, without providing a serious long-term commitment.
3. Create professional profiles on a few different internship search engines.
Creating profiles can be time consuming, so it’s best to stick to a few tried and true internship search engines. A few helpful search engines to consider include internships.com, experience.com and mediabistro.com. Your school’s career services office might also have a great website, so be sure to check all options!
And don’t forget to put your best foot forward so employers that view your profile are sure to be impressed! Make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors on your profile, too.
4. Set up a LinkedIn page to network with professionals in the area.
LinkedIn is a great tool in building your professional network. The social media platform is geared primarily towards professionals who are looking for jobs, looking for employees or simply networking with others.
Since many internship and job sites provide an option to connect with your LinkedIn account, it’s worth the time and effort to create a profile. This will save you a lot of time in the long run, as LinkedIn is the perfect place to showcase all of your experience without the space constraints of a resume. Additionally, there is a job search engine on LinkedIn that allows you to apply directly from your LinkedIn account. Talk about a time saver!
5. Ask a career counselor to review your resume and cover letter templates.
Something that many fail to do is have their resume and cover letter(s) reviewed by a career counselor or professional. It’s very easy to make these documents look too congested or too impersonal, so check with your career counselor to see what edits you can make to create the most effective resume and cover letter. After all, you’ll want to make the best first impression for a potential employer.
Searching for internships can be an exciting time, so be sure to consider all of your options as you see what different companies have to offer. Just remember the type of experience you’re hoping to gain and stay focused on your goals.
And most importantly, don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear from some employers. If you stay positive and keep looking, you will find the right internship. Whether you’re hoping to expand social media platforms, create email campaigns or conduct market research, there’s an internship out there for you. Happy searching!
– Nicole Zientek, Account Intern and Student at Duquesne University