Finding Internships in College and How They Help with Your Career

Internships are steadily becoming a requirement in many colleges. However, it is high time that to dispel the myth that only certain types of internships guarantee a post-collegiate career. Your internship experience would benefit by being personalized to your career interests and passions, regardless of what your major is.

 

For example, I completed internships in corporate finance, refugee services, international governance research, and am now working with a political campaign. I am completing my degree in Economics and History and have minors in Government and Classical Studies. It may seem that I jumped from field to field, which is not far from the truth. I, like many of my female peers and friends, ensured that my college experience was about finding myself and my passions.

 

The internships I undertook helped me understand what I wanted to pursue after my undergraduate degree. Finding those internships, however, was a process that took time and effort.

 

While there is no catch-all, there are directed strategies that will help in finding an internship suited to your desires:

  • Start with an internet search: Search engines can provide you with thousands of options. You can filter and narrow by location, time posted, and company. Other websites, like Indeed and Glassdoor are helpful as well.
  • Check your career office: Another important, yet often underutilized resource is your university’s career office. The counselors and advisors there will help you tailor your resume to the types of internships you want, prepare you for interviews, and even point you to the types of internships and career options that are best suited for you career aspirations. Finally, your career office will likely have a job board specifically for your university that might include events, internships, and jobs.
  • Don’t forget career fairs!: Go to career fairs and events set up by your university to learn more about the fields you are interested in.

 

Make sure your resume highlights your qualities and skills that set you apart from others. As far as experiences go, be sure to use projects you have completed in your courses, any and all leadership positions you hold in campus organizations, any volunteer work you have done, and your coursework.

 

Those hiring for internships are not looking for specific experience; rather, they want to see that you are interested in your field and that you are looking to be involved in the field in any way you can. For example, if you are interested in interning with the State Department, completing research projects on foreign policy are a great way to stand out.

 

During the interview process, be sure to ask your hiring manager about the work culture and types of traits necessary to succeed in your role. This will allow you to determine whether the internship is the best path for you, and the hiring manager will know that you genuinely care about the role.

 

Internships, of course, are also an amazing way to begin your job search early. Some internships can transform into a job offer (in fact, this is how I got my post-graduation job) if you perform well enough. If you want to shift industries or work for a different company, internships show the hiring manager that you have the interpersonal skills necessary to succeed in an office environment. Be sure to highlight any projects completed during the internship, especially utilizing  quantifiable achievements and action words (i.e., analyzed, demonstrated, etc.). Highlight your achievements and accomplishments! They are what will get you your dream job.

 

Completing internships will help you understand what types of work environments you thrive in, which industries you want to build your career in, and what you want to do after you have completed your undergraduate degree.

 

 

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Ananya Dwivedi is currently in the final year of her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin, where she majors in Economics, Government and History. Her academic focus is on US-EU trade relations and political economy. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Past in Process, which is UT’s official undergraduate historical studies journal and engagement initiative. She plans on becoming a lawyer. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @quantumananyad and on LinkedIn.

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