How To Attain And Make The Most Of Your Internships
For many students, applying for and obtaining an internship position at a company or organization that is relevant to their career path is both daunting and difficult. But it can be done! During my second year of university I had an internship at a local non-profit public health agency, and they continued my employment into the summer months. The keys to first obtaining an internship are: research, persistence, and creativity.
Research: You, the student, need to do the dirty work to find yourself a place to work. Utilize your resources; talk to your teachers/professors, adults with careers in your field that you may know from sports, a religious group, or your school. And do a lot of Internet browsing!
Persistence: You aren’t the only student that is e-mailing the local hospital for an internship. Don’t be discouraged when they don’t e-mail you back or if they don’t pick up the phone. After a week, feel free to give them another call! If they still don’t get back to you, don’t take it personally, just hit-up the next organization on the list.
Creativity: Just because you want to be a lawyer doesn’t mean you have to intern at a law office. Just because you want to be a doctor doesn’t mean you have to intern at a hospital. Think of different areas of work and all of the different sectors of society that are affected by your field of interest! Non-profits and charities are always looking for an extra hand or volunteer and there are a wide range of charities that deal with all types of issues and demographics.
Once you have secured an internship, be sure to do the following to make the most of your experience:
– Connect with your boss, mentor, or supervisor. Not only will they be the ones writing you a letter of recommendation, they have a wealth of knowledge that you can learn so much from, both in the field and about your professional life.
– Work your hardest! It’s easy to be complacent once you’ve attained a great internship position; go the extra mile! Don’t’ just coast by doing the bare minimum at the office.
– Connect with the coworkers and peers. Find out what their experiences are and what they’ve learned from them.
– Be engaged. If you have an idea to offer the organization, offer it to someone! You are working for them, after all.
In the end, expect to work hard to find an internship and then, once you have it, work hard to get the most out of the great opportunity that you’ve secured for yourself. Remember why you’re doing it in the first place, and whether it is a positive or negative experience, be sure to learn from it!