With an increasingly competitive job market students are looking for ways to get a leg up on the competition. Internships are a great way to get relevant job experience related to your field of study while looking good on a resume. In my experience the right opportunity can be tough to find if you are not properly prepared. It is time consuming to find the exact requirements you are looking for so it is smart to look early. Internships also offer networking opportunities that can be useful after graduation. Although they are most popular during the summer, often these positions are available year round. With that being said here are 5 tips to consider when searching for an internship.
1. Find out what you want to do. Just finding an internship can be difficult, but finding a relevant one can be a task in itself. Take a step back and read the internship descriptions to see exactly what your tasks will be. . Determine what skills you expect to learn and see if the description gives you a chance to acquire them.
2. Search for an internship. Many colleges have a career services center dedicated to helping students find internships and jobs. This would be the first place I would visit on your search. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to someone to point you in the direction of any career services to aid in your pursuit. Even a professor can help with resources and websites to examine or even provide an industry contact. If I haven't said it enough, make sure to start your search early!
3. Review your resume. Create or update your resume and have it looked over for errors and be ready to create a cover letter for each posting. A good tip is to tailor your resume to include keywords used in the description of the internship you are applying for. To aid with this your school should have a writing center or career adviser that can help. If you dont have access to these services I would speak to a professor and ask them to look over your resume.
4. Prepare for interview. Being prepared is the biggest key in an interview. Its a good idea to research the company so you know an overview of the business. Another great way to prepare is by participating in a mock interview with a career counselor or a professor. Be sure to ask who you will be meeting with so that you can do your research on their roles and be ready to ask some questions yourself.
5. Make the Choice. REMEMBER: You do not have to accept the first position you are offered! A proper fit is much more important than accepting the first opportunity. Where do you want to work after graduation? Public, private, or non-profit? Where ever you decide to intern it should be something you would like to pursue after school. Some things to compare between different opportunities are Pay, Position Structure, Company Size, Location/Distance, and Experience Offered.
If you aren’t able to land an internship don’t stress! There other things you can do to further your professional career. Depending on your field, feasible alternatives to an internship can be: starting a blog, volunteering, doing freelance work, take extra classes, or get a unrelated job that will build your skill base. These are just some of the things you can do instead of an internship and still have a productive summer.
Overall the most important thing in your search is finding a position that will give you experience to help you land a job in the field you desire after graduation while building connections in that area. That said, is Construction Management a field that interests you? Click here to connect with our HR Manager Amy Gordon. She can let you know about internship opportunities at New England Construction!