Internships/Co-opsPage address: http://www.mnsu.edu/cdc/students/jobs_and_internships/internships.html
"Experiential learning" in the form of internships, co-operative education, practicums, externships, and job shadowing are a great way for students to gain practical skills and experience from on-the-job training that cannot be found in the classroom setting.
According to the NACE 2011 Job Outlook survey, 72% of employers prefer to hire candidates with relevant work experience. Of these, 53% prefer the experience to be from internship or co-op experience.
Additional benefits of completing an internship include:
- "Test drive" a career to learn about the field and determine if it is a good fit for you
- Gain a "real world" perspective on your chosen occupation and the culture of that field
- Gain insight and a better focus on your academic work
- Start building your professional network
- Establish relationships with mentors
- Develop new skills related to the field
- Earn college credit
- Spend some time thinking about what type of internship experience you are interested in completing
- Brainstorm a list of organizations you would like to intern with. You can see some of the organizations other students have interned with in the past listed here.
- Meet with your academic department's Internship Coordinator
- Use the resources on the "Finding Jobs and Internships/Co-ops" page to help with your search, and make sure to talk to potential employers at career and internship fairs
- Remember, if you do not find an internship experience listed with the organization you're interested in, go directly to the source and inquire further! Visiting the employer website can provide you with details on any internship programs they may have, or provide you with the information you need to inquire further.
- Don't forget to check on LinkedIn as well, where you can search for internship and entry-level job postings with companies related to people in your LinkedIn network.
- Reach out to your network via an informational interview, and make sure you ask where the person you are interviewing would recommend starting to look for internships in your field of interest.
- Make sure to fill out all of your paperwork correctly when applying for a posted internship! Use the information on the "Applying for Jobs and Internships/Co-op" page to make sure you're creating a stellar application!
- Need more help? Check out all the different ways that the Career Development Center can assist you!
- Set a goal for yourself, whether that's trying to figure out if you want to work in this field after graduation, picking up a particular set of skills or experiences, building on the accomplishments on your resume, or something else. Knowing what you want to accomplish will help you stay focused and best leverage the internship after its completed.
- Talk to your co-workers - not just the other interns - ask good questions, and make sure to thank the people that help you! Besides helping you learn everything you can about the company and your industry, you'll be making good networking contacts and potential mentors for the future!
- Pay attention to what's going on around you, and know what's important to the organization, and keep an eye out for any ad-hoc projects that may help you contribute to the success of the company.
- Meet with your supervisor and mentor regularly, and make sure to ask for any feedback they may have on your performance.
- If you were taking the internship for academic credit, make sure all of your assignments are completed, and the supervisor and site evaluations are turned in.
- Take some time to reflect on the experience, and make note of what you liked or didn't like about the job, the organization, and the field. Think about what new skills you may have learned, and what knowledge about the company and industry that you picked up. Think about how the internship may have helped you develop, and what your next steps will be. (Talk to someone the Career Development Center, if you need help!)
- Make sure to update your resume and any online professional profiles with your internship experience! Check out the sample resumes from the Job Search Handbook for examples.
- If you had a positive experience with your supervisor and co-workers, ask about the possibility of using them as a professional reference. Even if you do not get a reference, stay in touch with the people you met as part of your professional network.
- Look for another internship, or start your career search. Continue to capitalize on the skills gained from the internship, and continue building new skills.