It is the early days of the new semester and many of you are contemplating internship, or are already engaged in securing that opportunity. Considering the increasing importance of Experience in finding gainful employment, doing internship should not even be a question. Even if internship is not a requirement for completion of your degree, every student or recent graduate should consider ways in which to gain experience in the field as it not only boosts employer confidence in your capabilities, but expands your ability to make practical applications of what may have been a purely theory-driven training. Now that its value has been firmly established, here are a few tips on just how to go about securing that life-changing internship position.
1.Decide whether you will take an internship for academic credit or not.
2. Do not let financial reward be the deciding factor for you. Think of which organization will offer the best training opportunity.
3. Make a list of the organizations you would like to intern with. Do not only consider large and popular organizations. Often a more rounded experience is gained in small to medium-sized organizations.
4. Determine the benefits you would like to derive from your internship experience. This will help you decide how much time, energy and resources you will devote to securing a placement. Ideally, your internship should be career specific.
5. Do your research. Visit the websites of the companies on your list to see if they offer a structured internship programme. Find out as much as you can about the company in relation to the sector you are interested in and get feedback from persons who have interned with them.
6. Start making plans for accommodation away from home, as often the best internships require that you relocate.
7. Prepare a professionally appealing résumé and cover letter making sure to tailor it to match the needs and culture of your target organization(s). Some organizations require that you apply on-line using their pre-determined application forms.
8. Use your networking links to get doors of opportunity opened – professors, business partners with whom you are acquainted, your Career & Employment Services Centre, mentors as well as family and friends.
by Camille A. Graham, Career & Employment Services Officer, NCU