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Career

Let’s Talk Internships: The Search, the Preparation & the First Day

 

Internships are a great learning opportunity, look amazing on college transcripts and are beneficial to you. Colleges generally encourage students to do an internship in their junior or senior year. However, I would advise you to start sooner, if you want! As an individual who switched her major, I think having the opportunity to get real-life experience in a field of interest can help you decide if that area is one of intrigue to you.

How to get started

Think about what time of the year you are interested in having an internship. When determining this, think about your anticipated course loads, any jobs, sports or club commitments you have. These among others are factors you should consider. Talk to your academic advisor or career services advisor. You can email them to set up an appointment, if you are not meeting with them in the near future. They may have recommendations of sites that other students in your major have gone to and liked. You can also ask them if they have a list of internship relationships. If none of the suggestions are of interest to you, make a Handshake account. You can search through hundreds of internships.

How to pick the right internship for you

There will be a wide variety of internship opportunities available to you. This is wonderful, but it can be a little daunting. When choosing an internship, I would recommend directly contacting the organization and setting up a meeting. You can learn more about what you would be doing for the company as an intern. You will also gain a better feel for the physical location and employee atmosphere. You do not need to do this for every internship you’re interested in; however, once you narrow it down to one or two places, this may be helpful in selecting a location to intern.

How to prepare once you’ve selected an internship

You’ve made it through the process of selecting an internship. Congratulations! Now, you need to focus on purchasing supplies and preparing outfits that adhere to the dress code. Contact your supervisor about what types of materials you should bring with you to your internship. I would recommend always bringing along notebooks, pen, paper, a calendar and your laptop. Your employer will be able to provide information to help you. Make sure you ask what type of clothing you are expected to wear. Will you be walking around a lot? Will you be in an office? Working outside? These are a few of the many questions you should ask your supervisor.

How to handle your first day

Dress appropriately. Even if you’re permitted to wear sneakers, make sure that you look neat and tidy. Being a mess shows that you lack preparation. Be prompt. Arrive as early as you can because this will show that you are reliable and eager! Make sure that you know exactly where you are going. Take into consideration any road conditions or traffic that may delay your route. When you get to your placement, ask questions. Make sure that you understand the directions your supervisor gives you. Present yourself in a positive light by acting in a polite and professional manner. Try to act as professional as possible, and keep the sarcasm to minimum, or depending on your placement, none. Focus on doing your best and learning!

I hope that anyone who plans to pursue an internship finds these tips helpful. For those who currently have an internship, I hope that you are enjoying your experience. Have a wonderful week and continue working hard.

XXXX. Brianna

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