This is the time of year when students are finalizing their summer internships. Some opportunities are unpaid and others provide a nominal salary that might only cover lunch and commuting. A few lucky students secure an internship where they make "real" money, but they are few and far between.
Questions that I am often asked include:
What is the value of doing an internship?
Is it a waste of time?
How can an internship opportunity be maximized?
Internships are a very important component of a student's education. They are beneficial on many levels.
-- They enable students to gain valuable experience in their field of interest.
-- They help students determine whether they like the field of work they plan to enter because they are exposed to many facets of the industry. They are able to make meaningful observations as they are exposed to a variety of job possibilities.
-- Internships provide opportunities for students to build their resume by enabling them to add meaningful experiences.
-- Interns have an advantage over other job applicants upon graduation. They have been able to begin building their professional network by establishing contacts in their field of interest. They have more confidence and experience in a world outside academia.
-- Internships provide an opportunity for students to identify their strengths. They are able to see, firsthand, how they can use them to their advantage in a professional setting.
-- During internships people are very willing to tell the students all about their jobs, their career paths and how they can enter the field. Once somebody graduates and has a real "job" in the same setting, coworkers are usually more guarded and it is not as easy to get them to share information regarding the details of their jobs. It is not as easy to try out different positions within an organization as an employee rather than an intern.
-- Students who have worked as interns have stronger resumes, their interviews contain work related examples of the contributions they can make to a potential employer and they have professional references.
--They frequently lead to job opportunities.
Internships are often an investment in a student's future. Regardless of whether a student receives course credit or money, there are many benefits to being an intern. Internships often shorten the job search process after graduation because they have relevant experience on their resume and contacts that may help them get their foot in the door to a desired job or company.
As an intern, it is important to strategically maximize the opportunity. It is important to take steps to maximize the exposure and consciously use it to set the stage for future employment.
Top Ten Ways Maximize an Internship, Summer or Part-time Job
1. Arrive on time.
2. Dress for success. Pay attention to what people are wearing and dress accordingly.
3. Accept all challenges and learn from them.
4. Consider the experience as an opportunity to gain career clarification.
5. Develop meaningful connections and build your network.
6. Actively demonstrate your strengths.
7. Maintain a professional demeanor at all times.
8. Treat everyone with respect and respond to their requests with enthusiasm. Introduce yourself to everyone within the organization and always offer a solid handshake.
9. Do your work with a smile and get the job done.
10. Ask for a letter of recommendation, send a final thank you note and stay in touch with your professional contacts periodically throughout the year.
I encourage all students to commit to doing a few internships before they launch their careers.
Please let me know about your internship experiences!
Lisa Silvershein, Certified Master Coach and owner of Ark Career coaching uses her 20 + years of HR experience to help individuals leverage their strengths and grow professionally. Lisa gives her clients the edge to actively navigate their career and the confidence to achieve success. She works with people throughout all stages of their career and is an expert in career development and transition. Lisa can be contacted http://www.arkcareercoaching.com. Follow Lisa Silvershein's Blog to enhance your professional success at http://www.lisasilvershein.blogspot.com.© 2013 Lisa G. Silvershein
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