The majority of college students know how important snagging an internship can be. Before diving in and submitting to one, however, it helps to take a step back and review some vital do’s and don’ts so that you stand the best chance of being chosen for such an opportunity.
DO: Pick an Internship That Relates to Your Future Career
Because participating in an internship will take up a significant amount of your time in addition to your studies, it is a good idea to choose your internship based on something that will help you advance in your future career goals. Doing this will allow you to develop skills that can be directly applied to your resume, making you a viable candidate once you’re ready to start job hunting after graduation.
DON’T: Do an Internship Just to Do It
Internships are not mandatory for college students. Although being in this kind of work program is highly beneficial, do not apply for one if you are not truly interested or devoted to putting forth the effort. You should choose to be in an internship because you want to be, not because you feel like it’s something you have to do. There are plenty of other students dying to take advantage of such an opportunity, so give them a fair shot instead of committing to something that you’ll only go through the motions for just so you’ll have something to do.
DO: Make Time
An internship is basically a job, whether it’s part-time or full-time, so make sure that you’ll be able to accommodate this added task into your current schedule. If you’re carrying a full course load and are already stressing out about turning in assignments, studying for tests and writing papers, taking on an internship probably isn’t going to work in your best interest. Pick a semester/quarter when you have a manageable class schedule that works with your day-to-day routine.
DON’T: Just Go for the Paid Internships
While the majority of internships for college students are volunteer, there are some paid opportunities to be found. However, money alone should not be the priority when choosing which programs to apply to. Unpaid internships offer students the chance to receive hands-on training in a real world working environment, which is much more beneficial for an individual’s career goals in the long-term after graduation that no amount of money in the short-term can compare to. Simply looking for paid internships will limit your choices greatly.
DO: Make Sure You Meet the Requirements
College internships are not a free for all. Just as with applying for an actual job in the workforce, there are requirements that must be met in order for the company to make sure that you would be ideal for the position. Be honest with yourself and only apply to those that you’re a successful candidate for. Lying about anything on your application will not only get you into a lot of trouble if the truth is discovered, it reflects very poorly on your character and could really harm your reputation during college and after graduation.
DON’T: Take It Personally If You Aren’t Chosen
Applying for internships is very competitive and because certain organizations/companies only have a select few they can bring on board, this means not everyone will get chosen. If you’re passed on for such an opportunity, chalk it up as a loss and move on to the next program.