5 Reasons to Intern and how
Internships are becoming ever more critical in today’s competitive landscape. For students to land top jobs, with top companies it is essential that you do well in school and get you an internship.
So often, individuals who work during school end up working at a local cafe, retail store, or some other convenient storefront. These jobs are really great, especially while in school and they offer individuals an opportunity to learn how to work in a professional (at least semi-professional) environment, be dependable, and interact with others. Many of the roles have you working hand to hand with customers, which no matter if it’s a burger joint or sales job, working with a end-user/customer is worthy experience for your career. I actually waited tables and worked in retail in High school and for a brief sprint in college.
BUT, if you can be proactive and a seek an internship within your discipline while in college that experience will add value to your career as you start to seek full time roles post graduation.
Unfortunately, at school your curriculum is usually a few years if not decades behind current Industry Best Practices. Sure, in the technology world there are fundamental skills that are pretty consistent. But, being exposed to an Internship gives you the opportunity to see what are the leading, and best ways of utilizing the skills and tools to solve real world problems. On the other hand, some companies may be stuck in some legacy tools or technology, and your exposure and experience may serve as a catapult to move them in the right direction – and also a great way to earn a Full-Time offer ;-).
One of the cool things about interning is meeting other great students from other areas, schools, and programs. This gives you an opportunity to expand your network professionally. Secondly, you get an opportunity to gain instant mentors and industry references as well. The team you will be a part of will be equipped with seasoned individuals who can help you post internship and college, as you prepare to transition into your career.
I’ll be honest… I can get burnt from school, and just school. Yes, having downtime, social time, and going on road trips are fun. But switching your mindset from homework to a project, or working on a job helps provide perspective. At least for me, it allowed my coursework to resonate with the next chapter of my life. Did I really want to become this or that. Did I feel I was getting the best from my college or program. It also helps just provide a getaway without stopping your pursuit of your degree. Even if the internship is just for the summer, the change in pace, scenery, and activity brings about a reset in many ways.
Yes, making some moola! Many internship programs are paid. In the technology space, pay is very competitive and it provides a great opportunity to store some cash to help cover college expenses, take a vacation, or save for a big purchase like a car or house. I would definitely recommend being aggressive at saving during this time. It is a great way to build a habit of saving and investing for the long haul.
To get started, I recommend taking these 4 steps.
1. Identify your objectives and goals. Where do you want to work, city/state, company, and ideal role and responsibilities. 2. Do your skills align with #1, if not what classes are projects can you do to help. 3. Write your resume! 4. Go to career fairs, networking events and start applying online.
I’ll do some continued post on this as well. Let me know if you chose to do an internship during college, and if so what has been the benefits?