College internships have been a controversial topic over the last few months, with students suddenly claiming that they’ve been forced to work long hours performing tedious tasks which had nothing to do with their job descriptions, but it’s still important to gain experience in your field before you graduate from college. Internships are a great way to do just that. Now that summer’s here, enjoy your break from school and find yourself an awesome internship to learn the tricks of the trade!
Internships are temporary positions: some are paid and some are unpaid. They’re a good way to see if you like a certain career as much as you hope you will, learn some tricks of the trade, beef up your resume, and hopefully meet some cool new people.
Some local internships may be advertised right on your campus, and the student activities office or the career services office at your school might be able to provide some assistance, but you may be outnumbered: if hundreds of other students are using the school itself in hopes of gaining an internship, your odds are lowered dramatically.
There are quite a few alternatives to finding your own summer internship.
I found a Wall Street Journal article that told an interesting story:
Looking for a new job, Alexa Scordato didn’t email or call her contacts about possible openings. Instead, she messaged them via the social-networking Web site Twitter.com. Her brief message: “Hey there! Looking for a Social Media job up in Boston. Are you guys doing any entry level hires?” Within a week, she had an interview. Within two weeks, she had a job.
I follow iJustine, who is basically a huge Apple iPhone fan that turned herself into a Twitter and YouTube star, on Twitter. I noticed that she suddenly started Tweeting about her love of Law and Order: SVU on a pretty regular basis. I’ll admit that she’s a pseudo-celebrity in her own right, but within a month or two she somehow landed herself a guest spot on an episode of SVU.
More and more companies are using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to advertise, and some even have their own YouTube channels. As a student and prospective “employee,” you can use these methods to sniff around for internship opportunities. Hey, you never know. Daily tweets about your love of a local TV station or newspaper might help get you noticed, especially if you’re willing to work for free.
I know that “social media” involves the internet, but it’s also important to visit the websites of companies that interest you. They’ll often post internship opportunities right on their own site without advertising them elsewhere.
Want to intern at Microsoft? They offer paid internship positions in hardware and software development, user experience, finance, legal, human resources, information technology, marketing, sales, and technical consulting. Microsoft’s internships even include subsidized housing and other benefits such as gym memberships.
How about Google? “Are you looking for an adventure? Google now offers internship opportunities throughout the year. If you are studying Computer Science or a related technical major, we offer opportunities in a number of Engineering and Product Management groups. If you are studying Psychology or Art History, don’t let that arts degree keep you from applying to Google. We also have internship work in many non-technical fields – including Finance, Marketing, and Sales.”
Ever thought of gaining some experience at Disney World? The Disney College Program is a Disney-designed combination of education and work experience.
Coveted positions at top companies like these probably get filled fast, but I’m sure there are tons of other cool internships available, so check online, and see what you can find!
This one’s a given, but it’s forgotten or ignored far too often.
One thing I wish I did more of during college was simply talking to people!
Ask your friends where they’re working or interning this summer, and see if there are any other openings available.
Talk to your professors and see if they know anybody who might need an assistant. You might even be able to get a position at the company where your parents work (if you could stand the idea of eating in the company lunchroom with Mom every day, of course) or even some kind of internship right at your own college.
If you don’t ask, you’ll never know, so it can’t hurt!
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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