Some view internships as resume builders, and others view them as free labor. So should you accept an internship? Better yet, should you accept an unpaid internship? No matter how you view this real world experience, there is no question that by having an experience as an intern under your belt you become a valuable asset to any perspective employer. Finding, accepting, and excelling at an internship can be what puts you over the top in a competitive career field. Here are the steps you should take in order to find the perfect internship match for you.
Stage 1: The Search
This is the stage where you search out an internship in the field you are interested in. First, search for internships in your area and areas within a 15-20 mile radius. Look online, call local businesses, check with friends of the family; do anything you can to find an internship opportunity. If you are interested in leaving the state or even the country, there are internships that will take you there as well.
Stage 2: Application Process
Applying for internships can take a while, but if it is something that you really want it is worth the time. Answer the questions honestly. Make sure you do a little research into the company of which you are applying so that you know exactly what they are looking for. By doing this, you can boast the skills you have that would best benefit the company. The application is the first impression the company will have of you, so make it good!
Stage 3: Interviews
Though the application is the first impression the employers will have of you, the interview is what will make or break you. Review your application and the questions that were asked. This will help you prepare for what kind of things the company may ask. You should also review the information that you discovered about the company. Employers want to hire people who know about them. It not only tells them that you know about their company, but it also flatters them. Speak slowly, stay calm, smile, and look the interviewer in the eyes. Do not fidget, play with your hands, or look around the room. Show the interviewer that you mean business. Another good, and rather obvious, tip is to practice interviewing. Many college campuses have counselors hired for the specific purpose of helping students perfect their skills before an interview. Take advantage of these options and it will pay off in an internship offer.
Stage 4: The Wait
This is the stage in which your patience will be put to the test. It can take weeks to hear back from perspective internship offers. However, do not be afraid to call, email, or stop in to ask about the selection process and if there has been a decision made yet. This will make you look ambitious and determined. Employers want to see these qualities in an intern and it will excite them to see you taking initiative.
Stage 5: Accepting an Internship
Just about the time you think you are about to burst from the wait, if you followed these tips and stages, at least one of the internships you applied for will call or email you with an offer to join their team. Accept or decline graciously and then go celebrate! A good way to celebrate would be to go on a shopping spree for work appropriate clothes! Not the most exciting thing in the world, but it is necessary. Make sure to ask the company if there is anything you need to do or bring with you on the first day, so that you are fully prepared. Show up at least 10 minutes early with a smile and a positive attitude, and show this company just how good of a choice they made in picking you.
If you do exceptionally well, there is a chance that the company may offer you a job after the internship is complete. You will also be able to use your boss as a reference for future endeavors. Just remember, an internship can be one of the best investments you make in your future. Whether it is paid or not, an internship is more than worth your time.