Internships – A Student’s Best Friend

5 03 2009
Internships can help you get ahead of the game!

Internships can help you get ahead of the game!

Through the first few years of my college education, I felt I understood what I could expect upon graduation. I mean, I did earn decent grades in classes that are intended to prepare me for a professional career. Then, I got an internship. And thus, I realized I knew nothing.

Internships are the key to getting a better understanding of a specific field in the professional world. Internships compliment the academic education that you receive in college by teaching you real-life skills and new experiences. One such internship changed my life, as it helped me decide to switch majors, even after two full years of college.

Not all internships are ideal. Some companies want you to staple papers, open mail, and do meaningless tasks that do not earn you the experience that you need. Look for internships that are hands-on and allow you to work under, but also at times alongside, professionals in the field of your desired profession.

Working as an intern also allows you to establish valuable contacts and provides networking opportunities that can help get your name out there in the field. This is important, because connections are very important in many fields.

The cliché of ‘it’s all about who you know’ often reigns supreme in our current competitive job field. That’s also a part of the New Venture Championship, as participants and professionals have the opportunity to begin new relationships and make new connections.

My advice is to apply for several internships, even if they aren’t paid! Experience you can gain at a leading company is more valuable than making minimum wage for a much lesser known company!

Other opportunities, like entering professional competitions, can bring your education into the real world and are also great for your development. For example, the NVC gives participants effective learning experiences through people who work in the actual field.

It is also important to keep in mind that rejection will come often, but do not fret. Rejection is a part of learning and doesn’t mean you haven’t won some knowledge. Just try to get your name out there.

Here are some Web sites that might help you find some interesting internships:

University of Oregon Job Link

MonsterTrak

National Internship Directory

Indeed.com