Dear 80’s Baby, How Do I Get An Internship?
Hey 80s’ Baby,
I just want to say that I like reading your blog every week. You should consider writing more during the week. The advice you give seems to be helpful so I got a question for you. I am a third year college student majoring in broadcast journalism. It seems like everybody else can get an internship in their field but me. I don’t understand, is the company supposed to find me or am I suppose to find them? Don’t these companies talk to our professors and choose the students they want based on their grades? I don’t know what I am doing wrong. No company has asked me to do an internship with them yet. How long am I suppose to wait for them to send me an invite? I need an internship this spring in order to graduate next year. Please help me get out of this rut that I’m stick in.
Whoa let’s tackle one thing at a time. First off I am glad you enjoy reading my blogs every week. I actually enjoy writing them. I have been receiving some good questions since I started this blog and I really do appreciate my readers.
Now onto your question. I think you may have some things confused. As far as I know, your professors may have a relationship with some companies but that doesn’t mean that your teachers are responsible for landing an internship for you. You have to apply for your own internships. Unless you are extremely popular or exceptional at marketing your skills no company is going to just approach you about doing an internship with them. Your professor will have leads for internships that they should be willing to share with you. And if not your professor then your school should have a career center available to all students.
At the career center, a staff member will help you write a resume if you don’t already have one; give you tips on the dos and don’ts of interviews and of course tell you who is hiring. If you are looking for a spring internship this year you are too late for that but it may not be too late to apply for a summer or fall internship. It all depends on the company. The important thing is to apply as soon as possible.
The Internet makes it easier than ever to find out if a company has an internship program. They even have websites that are dedicated to them. But I think your first stop should be your school’s career center and your professors.
Commonly, the companies will want you to fill out an application, submit your resume, college transcripts, a letter of recommendation and sometimes even an essay or something. Most of them will want you to show some type of proof that you will receive college credit after the internship term. This is just a formality to make sure you are really enrolled in an institution. However, there are some companies who do not require the proof. They are just happy to have the cheap labor in exchange for training future employees.
The benefits of a good internship are more than just cheap labor and a grade. This is usually your first opportunity for hands on experience in your field. Some other benefits include an inside glimpse at of that company; you can explore a variety of job functions to see what you like and don’t like; networking with other professionals in your field and the ultimate goal is it can lead to a job offer after you graduate.
Different internships have different application requirements. So when searching for a suitable one, evaluate if it is worth the effort necessary to apply. How do you evaluate them? Well you can start by reading the actual internship description. It should list the duties it will require. Another way is to research the company. Find out what there company does and more specifically what the department you will be working with does. You can even find out what other people have to say about that company, is it in good standing; are they facing any lawsuits and what do previous interns have to say about the company?
Once you have successfully landed the internship here are a few tips to remember:
- Treat it like a real job. Just because you are not an official employee doesn’t give you leeway to be careless. Adhere to all company policies. Act as if your career depends on it because well it kind of does.
- Waste no opportunities. If you see an opportunity to learn or meet someone new, don’t pass it up. This is you chance to make your self as marketable as possible. You don’t want to look back at your experience with regrets.
- Don’t expect to run the show on your first day. Be prepared to complete menial tasks like getting coffee and making copies as well as performing production tasks. Sometimes a company just wants to see how dedicated you are to the job while others may have strict policies for who can do certain functions. Whatever the reasons are be open minded and maintain a positive attitude.
- Network your butt off. Shake hands and kiss babies whenever possible. Don’t be afraid of small talk it can lead to something big. Ask for business cards or obtain a company directory with direct phone numbers and email addresses for future use.
- Be mindful of how you conduct yourself on your social media especially if you were brave enough to send your supervisor a friend request. Your goal is to market yourself professionally not personally to the company.
- Keep track of your responsibilities and achievements. You will need them for your resume.
- At the end of your internship, keep in touch with the people you worked with. If you made a good impression on them they will keep you in mind for employment after graduation. Ask them if you can use them as a reference in the future.
OK so for the record, you have to apply for internships, companies will not consider you based only on your grades and your professor’s word. Although a good recommendation from your professor won’t hurt, it will take more effort on your part to get selected. Good luck on your search.
The 80s’ Baby
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