If you’re a current college student, you probably know how crucial a good internship is. Whether you are looking for ways to enhance your education or want to get a leg up on the competition, finding your perfect internship can be the ideal way to gain practical skills, real-world experience, and recommendations for landing your first full-time job. And while there are many routes you can take, it’s in your best interest to look for opportunities that can draw out your current strengths and challenge you to become a more effective and valuable future employee.
Interested in learning more? Consider these bits of advice to help you find and decide on your ideal internship.
Tip #1: Search for internship opportunities across legitimate websites.
Finding your perfect internship can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. But it doesn’t have to be. Search for your next internship using websites like Indeed.com, LinkedIn, Zip Recruiter, and Monster.com to begin the process of searching for postings that meet your desired criteria, like location, potential compensation, and working environment.
By looking for internships that closely meet your immediate wants and needs, you’ll feel more empowered to apply and commit if a match is made.
Tip #2: Understand the key differences between paid versus unpaid internships.
Let’s face it – getting paid for your work is the most ideal kind of internship. Whether you’re getting coffee for the team or collaborating on a project, you would prefer for your time to be compensated. However, that’s not always the case; a large portion of internships don’t offer a paycheck. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the difference between unpaid versus paid internships, including what should be expected in return.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, unpaid internships are temporary opportunities for beginning professionals to observe a work environment and gain experience without financial compensation. In exchange, they are typically compensated with academic credit that can be applied toward their degree. On the other hand, paid internships allow you to earn minimum wage while on the job. However, be aware that paid internships can require additional training and cannot be asked to perform the same level of work as salaried employees. It’s helpful and healthy for both you as an intern and your employer to recognize the boundaries and limits of the work and hours required in an internship.
Tip #3: Look for internships that can lead toward a full-time job.
Applying for internships shouldn’t just be based on fulfilling your degree requirements. In fact, you should look for internships that have the possibility of becoming full-time jobs. In recent studies, over 56% of all interns have accepted job offers from the company where they interned, including part-time positions.
When looking for your next internship, ask yourself these questions:
- What kind of future job do I want?
- What type of environment do I thrive in?
- What can this company offer me in the long term?
Answering these questions can help you decide what internships would suit you best. Because hiring managers often use internships to determine which interns would be a good fit for open positions, you should consider internships as preliminary training to get you in front of your intended company. You might even find it valuable to have those interactions as an intern before accepting any formal offer of employment with the business.
Tip #4: Use your professional network to find internships.
Networking can seem daunting and awkward, especially for young professionals looking for a big break in the job market. Cultivating strong professional relationships can last a lifetime, even if you’re offered a job post-internship. When searching for internships in your desired field, try reading some of the company’s leadership biographies and connecting with them on platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter. Having your prepared elevator pitch ready to make a lasting impression.
Tip #5: Make an appointment with ACU’s Career Center.
As an ACU Online student, you have access to professional career specialists dedicated to helping you find, apply, and (hopefully) land your dream internship. Using platforms like Handshake, our career coaches offer their services to expand your experiential learning while gaining hands-on experience in a field before graduation. They also pride themselves on helping you build your resume, prepare for initial interviews, and build your confidence for a better chance of landing that first internship. For more information or to just get started, contact Career Development Coach Lauren Boyles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t wait for the right internship to knock on your door; go out and find it. Start searching and applying for your next internship; maybe it can lead to your first big break.
Have additional questions on how degree-geared internships can benefit your professional goals? Contact our admissions team today at 855-219-7300 or connect via chat at www.acu.edu/online.