Doing internships is now seen as a primary element in landing desirable employment after graduation. However, internships are not created equally, with some providing essential work experience while others seem to be a way for businesses to get some free labor. Follow these steps to define the internships that will give you an edge when competing for jobs after graduation.
- Make the rounds – The more internship positions you apply for, the better the chances that you’ll find one that provides an environment you enjoy with the opportunity for a diversity of work experience. Keep in mind that each interview is a two-way street and that you can ask questions about expectations and job duties to ensure that you are going to get the most out your internship.
- Don’t base the decision on getting paid – In most cases the hours spent working as an intern are not going to result in a life changing paycheck. The priority in choosing an internship should be on finding a business that will put you to work in areas that will challenge you and provide valuable experience. In the long run, finding the right internships will prove to be far more valuable than a few checks based on hourly pay.
- Accept the fact that you may take out the trash from time to time – As the new kid on the block, be ready to accept that you may be asked to grab lunch, coffee or dry cleaning. To prevent taking an internship where these tasks are the only thing you do, ask about your duties during your interview. A definitive answer that includes valuable work experience is what you want to hear. If you can’t get a straight answer about what you’ll be doing, start looking for other opportunities, even if the current interview is with a high-profile company.
- Jump in – Generally speaking, employers prefer self-starters as opposed to people who need constant instruction. Jumping in to projects and seeking help when necessary will score a lot more points than waiting for guidance at every turn. It also provides a challenge to solve problems on your own which can turn out to be extremely valuable work experience.
Ultimately, the best internships will give you real experience in real world circumstances. Seek them out and you will benefit when it comes to competing for a job you really want.
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