A 2007 MonsterTRAK survey noted that the two most important things employers look for are past experiences and personal character. College graduates with internship experience are more likely to be hired for a job than those with less experience. An internship can bridge a gap between college and the working world, allowing students to experience the roles, expectations and behaviors of the working world. Students learn about their strengths, interests, problem solving skills and abilities to deal with clients and work under pressure. Networking opportunities are gained that are valuable in shaping future careers. Students also gain credentials for their resumes. Internships provide an opportunity for students to test the compatibility of their chosen major with a specific company, in advance of graduation and full-time employment.
Research indicates that the more semesters a student spends interning, the less time they spend looking for employment. Internships typically predict higher starting salaries. Internships also have the ability to stimulate a student’s involvement in the educational learning process.
Research also shows that undergraduates who receive credit for internships are shown to have a stronger preference for active experimentation, while those who do not receive credit prefer a more reflective observation learning style. Web sites such as Monster.com, MonsterTRAK.com and Careerbuilder.com are a solid place for students to start looking for an internship. All of these Web sites allow students to search in specific fields related to their major. Students can sign up for the Web site for free and receive alerts when new internships are posted.
Craigslist.com is another internship search tool for students. This site allows users to search in different countries, states or major cities. Students can search for jobs in categories such as accounting, engineering, science, legal, real estate, retail, marketing, public relations, web editing and much more. Jobs and internships are posted on a daily basis on Craigslist.com and searching can be refined by using keywords.
For students wishing to travel to warm and sunny weather for an internship, the Walt Disney College Program could be the perfect internship experience. Walt Disney World and Walt Disneyland accept hundreds of college students as interns every year. This paid internship allows students to experience the happiest place on Earth while living with other college students and gaining hands-on experience.
Named the number one place to launch a career by Business Week, the Walt Disney College Program offers internships in a variety of majors, including art, biology, business and management, computer science, criminal justice, culinary arts, education, engineering, finance and accounting, hospitality and tourism, journalism, public relations, marketing, radio, television, sales, sports management and sales. For more information, visit www.collegeprogram.com.
Walt Disney also offers “professional internships,” which are more specific to a major. These internships are more competitive and may or may not be paid. Professional internships are the “behind the scenes” of Disney, focusing more on a business setting as well. For more information on professional internships at Walt Disney, visit disneycareers.com.
Researching is crucial when searching for an internship. What companies would you like to work for? What kind of an internship would give you the best hands-on experience? Once these questions are answered, research different companies in the area. On most company Web sites there is information about “careers” or “job opportunities.” This is where internship information could be found as well. If there is no mention of internships on the Web site, call the company or organization. Speak to a person and express interest in learning about the company and possibly interning there.
Once one has conducted the research, it is time to apply for the internship. Preparation is important; companies may have application deadlines. Make sure to research a few months a head of time to ensure to make the deadline.
An error-free resume and cover letter is a must when applying for an internship. Make sure to cater the cover letter to the company and prove that research was conducted. Also, organize sample work that you have completed that is related to the organization or internship description (ex: writing samples, related school projects).
Be prepared to dress professionally at an internship interview and go prepared to talk about yourself. Research the company and prove to the interviewer that you know about the organization and want to learn more by interning there.
Internships allow students to have real-world experience before graduation. Not only does it look great on a resume, but students learn more than sitting in a classroom.