You’re back from spring break. Now time is ticking. The countdown has begun for either graduation, end of semester exams, a fantastic summer, or hopefully more than one of the three. And for some of you, that countdown is to an internship or beginning to search for one. Here is the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, “why” and “how” of internships.
Who should you be?
When applying for an internship, the question, “Should I be myself of someone else?” may pop into your head. The answer is, be your best self, professional but unique. Why should you impersonate someone else unless you do not believe that you are good enough for the position?
What is an internship?
1. An internship is supervised training.
2. It is not slavery. If something seems extremely wrong, escape… quickly.
3. An internship can be paid or unpaid. Not being paid does not mean it is slavery. It means you are willing to do what it takes to make yourself more marketable for the career you aspire to take on, a self-motivated worker that values the field.
4. An internship gives you the skills and necessary knowledge to enter a profession by helping you gain work experience. It is called an internSHIP for a reason, it should help you reach another destination.
When should I look for one/attain one?
Now! It’s never too early to look! Juniors and seniors should especially put internship at the top of their list.
Where should I look?
I was one of the lucky ones. I had the opportunity to take a class specifically directed at getting students in contact with internship opportunities for those who may need help finding one and getting more out of the internship experience for those who have already found one. See if your school and major offers such classes. Also, career fairs are a great way to find internships. The opportunities are brought right to your doorstep. All you have to do is get dressed, walk over with a ready resume, introduce yourself, and shine!
Many engineers find internships through personal connections, family ties, friends of friends, you never know who holds one of the many keys to your future occupational success. And do not forget to check online, it’s what this generation of college students does best right? One of those sites could be your launching point to applying for multiple internships. Lastly on the list of places to look, just ask! What is the company you want to work for? Go to it and ask if there are any internships available or if they have considered having an intern, if so, you may be just who they are looking for or quite possibly the asset they did not know they needed.
Here are some places you can start looking:
Why should I apply to an internship?
Refer back to what an internship is, would you not like something so valuable that could help you go places you may not have even envisioned yourself in?
An internship will also build your network of professionals. A common expression is, it’s not what you know, but who you know and sometimes more importantly, who knows you. Do not underestimate the value of an internship and its ability to not only highlight but build your strengths and give you a chance to be known.
Internships also allow you to get your feet wet. You never know what you’ll learn once you test the waters. You are bound to encounter things you don’t like about the career or environment just as you should encounter things you appreciate.
How should I apply?
Just do it….Carefully.
You have been given the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, “why” and “how” of internships. Use them wisely. Where will your internship search take you?
Written by: Cynthia M. Sharpe, a May 2015 graduate of NC State University. Cynthia graduated with a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and currently aspires to pursue an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. “As I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” -Cynthia M. Sharpe, inspired by Marianne Williamson